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Birth and Death Reign 

Julius Caesar 102 or 100 B.C.-44 B c. Dictator 44 B.C. 


63 B.C.-I4 A.D. Emperor 27 B.C.-I4 A.D. 


42 B.C.-37 A.D. 

" 14-37 AJ>. 


12-41 A.D. 

" 37-41 A.D. 


10 B.C.-54 A.D. 

" 4I-S4 A.D. 


3 7-68 A.D. 

" 54-68 A.D. 


3B.C.-69 A.D. 

" 68 (June)-69 
(January) A.D. 


32-69 A.D. 

" 69 A.D. (Janu- 
ary 15 to April 


15-69 A.D. 

" 69 A.D. (Janu- 
ary 2 to De- 
cember 22) 


9-79 A.D 

" 60-79 A.D, 


39 or 41-81 A.D. 

" 70-8 1 A.D. 


51-96 AJ>. 

" 81-96 A.D. 


GAIUS SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS lived at a time of particu- 
lar significance for western civilization. The political and cul- 
tural greatness of Rome had reached its climax and begun its 
long decline. The Apostles Paul and Peter had been martyred 
and Christianity had begun the long ascent of its influence. 

Of the manifold ramifications of effect that the events of his 
century were to have on later life Suetonius was completely 
oblivious. Even the mind of his time most gifted with histor- 
ical perspective, that of Tacitus, could not accurately envisage 
the implications of history of ist Century Rome. This, of 
course, is peculiarly true in regard to the influence which 
Christianity was to have, true not only of Suetonius, but of all 
contemporary with its beginnings. The greatness of this in- 
fluence was to surpass even the most consolatory dreams of 
the most fanatical Christian zealot writhing in the arena for 
his cause. To our Roman authors the Christians of the ist 
Century were a pitiable lot. And they give us never a clue as 
to whether a man Christ actually lived and was crucified, or 
whether he was a fiction Rome herself pieced together in an 
effort to create a religious tool by which further to unite the 
diverse peoples under her dominion. 

That Suetonius was utterly unsuspecting of the focal 
strength of Christianity is readily understood. But he ap- 
pears, as well, not even to have been conscious of the effects 
which would issue from many of the acts of the Caesars whose 
lives interested him so minutely. Important historical events 
he often dismisses in a paragraph, as the Gallic conquests of 
Julius, or with a casual allusion, as the defeat of Varus. 
Though he was aware the age was degenerate he did not reaJ* 
ize its abasement was not a valley between two hills but ait 



incline leading inexorably toward the sea of ineffectually into 
which Rome was to descqpd. He was not concerned with po- 
litical ideals or with ethics, as was Tacitus. He had little ap- 
preciation of the significance of events, and less historical 
perspective. He presents no composite picture of the manners 
or society in which his characters moved. He produced neither 
history nor biography, though he handled the materials of 
both. Nor is he a literary artist, though he wrote Latin with 
the clarity of the conscientious grammarian. 


If the defects of Suetonius are so considerable it may well 
be asked in what way his work is valuable to us. For, the 
Lives of the Twelve Caesars remains a peculiarly valuable and 
interesting work. 

Unlike the Annals of Tacitus, which covers much of the 
same period of Roman history, the Lives has always been 

Suetonius* keynote is the personal. And detail of person, 
especially the persons of the powerful Caesars, had a particu- 
lar fascination for the Romans of his time and that immedi- 
ately following. Its popularity in the Middle Ages is shown by 
the hundreds of manuscript copies which have come down to 
us. There exist three Incunabula of the Lives. And between 
1470 and 1820 more than forty editions appeared, some under 
the editorship of such eminent scholars as Erasmus, Stephanus, 
and Casaulon. Between 1606 and 1796 threa English trans* 
lations appeared. 

Unlike Tacitus, Suetonius has had many imitators. 

Until Suetonius Roman biography was restricted to meager, 
one-sided forms. They were mostly of a laudatory character. 
They arose from three sources: (i) funeral eulogies spoken 
from the rostrum by a son or other near relative of the de- 
ceased; (2) eulogies of ancestors by magistrates on enter- 
ing office; (3) the recitation at banquets of narratives dealing 
with the valorous deeds and great virtues of illustrious men. 

That biography among the Romans had developed no far- 
ther by Suetonius' day is due largely to the rigidity of the 
forms of biography they had inherited from the Greeks, 


Sttiong whom this branch cf writing had always been subordi- 
nate to other forms of philosophic teaching. For the essence 
of the "philosophic type" of Greek biography was that it 
should have a moral and didactic purpose, should present 
idealized pictures of the art of living as models for imitation. 
The "grammatical type" of Greek biography was perhaps 
even more restricted in scope. This type developed from out- 
lines of the lives of authors to whose works they served as in- 
troductions, drawing their material largely from these works 

Suetonius' work, therefore, though seemingly modeled on 
the "grammatical type" of his time, differed so radically in 
conception, scope, and form from earlier biography that he 
may be taken as a starting point for subsequent Roman biog- 
raphy. He gave a biographical turn to historical writing that 
endured for centuries. This is seen by the number of later 
writers, among them Marius Maximus, and the authors of 
the Augustan History Script ores Historiae Augustae, who 
used the Lives as model. His influence extended to the Greek 
and Byzantine writers, and even to Christian, as appears from 
the biography of Ambrosius by his Secretary Paulinus. 

Nor were the other works of Suetonius without influence on 
succeeding writers. 

The lexicographer Suidas of the loth Century has given us 
a list of eighteen titles, though doubtless some of these are 
sub-headings of larger works rather than separate titles. The 
titles show a vast field of interest. Among them is one "on the 
origin and early import of imprecations and words of abuse." 
Another treats "of those courtesans who were celebrated for 
their beauty or accomplishments," of which Apuleius made 
use. Hieronymus wrote of the "Illustrious Men" of the Church 
in imitation of Suetonius' work of the same title, while the 
ecclesiastical chronographers, such as Julius Africanus, drew 
on his treatise "On the Kings." Tertullian based his De Spec- 
tacidis on a similar work of Suetonius. Censorinus, Solinus, 
Macrobius, Isidore, the learned bishop of Seville, were all in- 
debted to him. 

But of all these works only the Lives of the Twelve Caesars 
has come down to us practically entire. 



Though Suetonius does not compare favorably with many 
authors more eminent, the reason for the anomaly of his popu- 
larity and influence is, however, quite apparent. 

Suetonius is inveterately human. While Tacitus soars and 
views the horizons Suetonius grubs like a naturalist for every 
minute act, private or public, every particular trait, habit, or 
idiosyncrasy of the man under the miscroscope of his inde- 
fatigable curiosity for realistic detail. He permits himself the 
omission of no minute item, good, bad or indifferent. He feels 
himself bound to report not only all his subject did but all 
that was said about him, after he has sifted its authenticity 
according to his criterions. They are high. Suetonius was crit- 
ical of his sources. One may smile at his painstaking attention 
to detail, but the human interests of the reader are all the 
more engaged. 

The result is that we are given a vivid picture of the ex- 
ternal man. In not one of the twelve portraits do we perceive 
the inner man. Either Suetonius had no interest in portraying 
the growth of a soul in the welter of human circumstance, or 
he realized he had no gift for such portrayal, chose a method 
of narration which precluded it, and followed his plan wita 
rigor, wisely limiting himself to the marshaling of external 

These he presents with business-like brevity, stripped of 
comment, but so grouped as to produce his effect without the 
use of rhetoric, with no studied climaxes, no bursts of declama- 
tory eloquence, no verbal pictures set in frames of rhetorical 
richness, with utter absence of attempt to sway the emotions 
of the reader, with no personal bias either in enthusiasm for 
virtue or repugnance before vice. From this indifference the 
reader comes to feel he is truly impartial, that he is merely 
telling what he believes to be true, and leaving each to his 
own conclusion. The impressiveness of the facts detain and 
interest the reader. Suetonius is, despite the disadvantages of 
his method, never colorless or dull, even in the parts devoted 
to genealogy. And at times his clear, terse record of events 
reaches heights of power in their very sobriety and simplicity, 
s in the scene of Caesar's death, or Nero's. 


Such records are undoubtedly very valuable supplements to 
the more formal historical sources. Suetonius is one of our 
guides closest to that remarkable period of transition in the 
history of Rome, the two centuries on either side of the birth 
of Christ. Sometimes he is our most direct and only source, 
for there are lacunae in the works of Tacitus and Dion Cassius, 
as they have come down to us. 

Because of the seeming sensationalism of some parts of his 
work, the reliability of Suetonius as a guide and even his 
honesty have been attacked. He certainly does tell a prodi- 
gious number of scandalous anecdotes about the Caesars. But 
there was doubtless more of that than any man could tell. 
He had access to a vast amount of public and, as secretary 
to Hadrian, private records now lost to us. And that he de- 
pended on such sources more than, as some assert, on hearsay 
and gossip, is shown not only by a critical reading of his text 
but by the fact that as his narrative approaches and overlaps 
the period of his own life the detail becomes meager, and the 
biographies consequently shorter. 

Thus, while we have in Suetonius no tracing of the connec- 
tion of events or of the effects of circumstance in developing 
character we have a great vividness of presentation of the 
external personality. Thanks to him men know still intimately 
indeed the flesh and blood of the Caesars. It is to such work 
that men still grant popularity. 


No biography of Suetonius has come down to us. The bio- 
graphical data we have is not extensive, though good. It con- 
sists in: ( i ) references to himself in the Lives (five in number, 
though only one gives us direct information) ; (2) six letters 
of Pliny the Younger, four addressed to Suetonius, and two 
concerning him; (3) a letter from Trajan to Pliny about 
Suetonius; (4) a sentence concerning him in Spartianus' Life 
of Hadrian; which is further elucidated by a bit of informa- 
tion given us by the Byzantine antiquarian Johannes Lydus 
(circa 550). 

From this material we cannot reconstruct his life in detail, 
but we can, fortunately, sketch its general outlines. 


He himself tells us in Otho, X: "My father Suetonius 
Laetus took part in that war [Ojho against Vitellius] as a 
Tribune of the equestrian order in the i3th legion." This was 
in 69 A.D., which year Mace argues is the date of Tranquillus' 
birth, an event he places in Rome. To fix either exactly will 
very likely remain impossible. But from two other references 
of Suetonius to himself we set it around the beginning of the 
reign of Vespasian, which was from 70 to 79. 

Where, how, or by whom he was educated we do not know. 
For our next glimpse of him is as a lawyer in Rome, in a let- 
ter from Pliny, which reads: 

"Your letter informs me, that you are extremely alarmed 
by a dream; apprehending that it forebodes some ill success 
to you in the cause you have undertaken to defend; and, 
therefore, you desire that I get it adjourned for a few days, 
or, at least to the next. This is a favor, you realize, not very 
easily obtained, but I will use all my influence for that pur- 
pose: Tor dreams descend from Jupiter.' In the meanwhile, it 
is very material for you to recollect, whether your dreams 
generally represent things as they afterwards fall out, or quite 
the reverse. But if I may judge of yours by one that hap- 
pened to myself, you have nothing to fear; for it portends 

you will acquit yourself with great success But, after all, 

perhaps you will think it more safe to pursue this cautious 
maxim: 'never do a thing concerning the rectitude of which 
you are in doubt.' If so, write me. In the interval, I will con- 
sider some expedient, and endeavor that your cause shall be 
heard any day you like best. In this respect, you are in a bet- 
ter situation than I was: the court of the centumviri, where 
I was to plead, admits of no adjournment; whereas, in that 
where your cause is to be heard, though it is not easy to pro- 
cure one, still, however, it is possible.'' (Letter 18 of Book I.) 

That Suetonius was not interested in military life can be in- 
ferred from a second letter of Pliny addressed to him: 

"The obliging way in which you request me to confer the 
military Tribuneship upon your relation, which I had ob- 
tained of the honorable Neratius Marcellus for yourself, is 


consistent with that respect with which you always treat me. 
As it would have given me great pleasure to have seen you 
in that post, so it will not be less acceptable to me to see an- 
other there through your means. For it would hardly, I think, 
be consistent to wish the advancement of a friend's honors 
and yet envy him the noblest of all distinctions, that of a gen- 
erous and affectionate relation. To deserve preferment and 
to bestow it is glorious, and the praise of both will be yours if 
you resign to another what is your own due. In this glory I 
too shall share, when the world shall learn from the present 
instance that my friends can not only fill Tribuneships but 
confer them as well. I therefore readily comply with your 
generous request; and as your name is not yet entered upon 
the roll, I can without difficulty insert that of Silvanus in its, 
stead. May he accept this good office at your hands in as grate- 
ful a spirit as I am sure you will receive it at mine." (Letter & 
of Book III.) 

Pliny's third letter to Suetonius merely concerns his desire 
to have his friend's advice on how he shall present his verses 
to a company of friends, and gives us no further information 
of Suetonius. But in the fourth we see the character of our 
author more plainly: 

"It is time you should acquit the promise my verses gave of 
your works to our common friends. The world is every day im- 
patiently inquiring after them, and there is some danger of 
their publication being forced upon you by legal proceedings. 
I myself am backward in publishing. But you quite get the 
better of even me in slowness and procrastination. You must 
rouse yourself, then, otherwise the severity of my satire may 
perhaps extort from you what the blandishments of my gentler 
muse could not obtain. Your work is already arrived to that 
degree of perfection that the file can only weaken, not polish 
it. Allow me, then, the pleasure of seeing your name on the 
title-page of a book, and suffer the works of my dear Tran- 
quillus to be recited and transcribed, to be bought and read. 
It is but fair, and suitable to our mutual friendship, that you 
should give me in return the same pleasure you receive from 
me." (Letter n of Book V.) 


Pliny's petition to Trajan asking a privilege for Suetonius, 
and Trajan's reply add further information: 

"Suetonius Tranquillus, Sir, is a most excellent, honorable, 
and learned man. I was so much pleased with his tastes and 
disposition that I have long since Invited him into my family, 
as my constant guest and domestic friend; and my affection 
for him increased the more I knew of him. Two reasons concur 
to render the privilege which the law grants to those who have 
three children particularly necessary to him; I mean the 
bounty of his friends, and the ill-success of his marriage. Those 
advantages, therefore, which nature has denied to him, he 
hopes to obtain from your goodness, by my intercession. I am 
thoroughly sensible, Sir, of the value of the privilege I am ask- 
ing. But I know, too, I am asking it from one whose gracious 
compliance with all my desires I have amply experienced. How 
passionately I wish to do so in the present instance, you will 
judge by my thus requesting it in my absence ; which I would 
not do had it not been a favor which I am more than ordinarily 
anxious to obtain." (Letter 95 of Book X.) 

"You cannot but be sensible, my dearest Secundus, how re- 
served I am in granting favors of the kind you desire; having 
frequently declared in the Senate that I had not exceeded the 
number of which I assured that illustrious body I would be 
contented with. I have yielded, however, to your request, and 
have directed an article to be inserted in my register, that I 
have conferred upon Tranquillus, on my usual conditions, the 
privilege which the law grants to those who have three chil- 
dren." (Trajan to Pliny, Letter 96 of Book X.) 

The picture we have of Suetonius in Pliny's Letters is com- 
pleted by a sixth letter, to one Bebius: 

"My friend and guest, Tranquillus, has an inclination to 
purchase a small farm, of which, as I am informed, an ac- 
quaintance of yours intends to dispose. I beg you would en- 
deavor he may get it upon reasonable terms, which will add 
to his satisfaction in the purchase. A dear bargain is always 
a disagreeable thing, particularly as it reflects upon the judg- 
ment of the buyer. There are several circumstances attending 
this little villa, which (supposing my friend has no objection 


to the price) are extremely suitable to his taste and desires: 
the convenient distance from Rome, the goodness of the roads 
the smallness of the building, and the very few acres of land 
around it, which are just enough to amuse him, without taking 
up his time. To a man of Tranquillus' studious turn, it is suffi- 
cient if he have but a small spot to relieve the mind and divert 
the eye, where he may saunter round his grounds, traverse his 
single walk, grow familiar with all his little vines, and count 
the trees in his shrubbery. I mention these particulars to let 
you see how much he will be obliged to me, as I shall be to 
you, if you can help him to this convenient little nest, at a 
price which he shall have no occasion to repent." (Letter 24 
of Book I.) 

These letters cover the period between A.D. 96 and 112, ac- 
cording to the dates assigned to them by Mommsen. 

Our final bit of information is important though it comes 
from a man who lived around 300, Aelianus Spartianus. In 
Chapter X of his Life of the Emperor Hadrian we read: 

"Although he [Hadrian] often complained of his wife 
Sabina's difficult and cross-grained humor and said if he had 
been a private person he would have divorced her, he dis- 
missed Septicius Clarus, Praefect of the Guard, and Suetonius 
Tranquillus, his Secretary, also several others, who had be* 
haved towards her with less ceremony than was required by 
court etiquette." 

We thus learn that Suetonius was associated at court. But 
we do not know how he obtained his post as Secretary to 
Hadrian. Lydus speaks of a manuscript of the Lives of the 
Twelve Caesars which he states contained a dedication to 
C. Septicius Clarus, the same, presumably, who was dismissed 
by Hadrian at the same time as our author. It has, therefore, 
been inferred Suetonius obtained his post as Secretary through 
the patronage of Clarus. Nor do we know how long he held the 
post. The dismissal Mac6 dates during Hadrian's sojourn in 
Britain, 121-122, when Suetonius would have been around 
fifty years of age. 

This is our last reference to him. But, that he was slow to 
publish considered with the fact that he was a voJuminoul 


writer would seem to indicate that he lived to a good, old 
age, including a part of the reign of Antoninus Pius ( 138-161). 

Thus, in spite of the paucity of information concerning the 
external detail of Suetonius' life we have after all a rather 
definite picture of Suetonius the man. "A most excellent, hon- 
orable, and learned man" the gentle Pliny undoubtedly be- 
lieved him to be. A tranquil, peace-loving man of scholarly 
tastes and habits he most probably was ; rather disdainful of 
the ordinary ambitions of men's lives, leisurely intent on liv- 
ing up to his ideals of authorship. Though he did not rise 
above the superstition of his age, we have some basis for in- 
ferring that he did rise above the baseness of flattery and the 
venality of the age. A man who enjoyed the intimate friend- 
ship of a number of the more distinguished men of his age, and 
who from his connection with them and his position under 
Hadrian led a life not unsuitable to the purpose? to which he 
had set his desire. 

For the rest, those deeper purposes ana intents of Suetonius' 
f ife, they are clearly enough reflected in his writings. He un- 
doubtedly had a high conception of the function of the author. 
Though he did not attain the heights of artistry, he was a 
conscientious scholar who loved study for herself, and whose 
love was fruitful. Scrupulously impartial, he was possessed 
with a zeal to tell the whole truth as he saw it. One feels, at 
least, that his picture of Imperial Rome is less distorted than 
that of men who cannot look on evil and putrescence with so 
calm a face. And not for any amount of description of con- 
quest, battle, data of election, march of external event, would 
men give up such glimpses as that of the great Augustus clad 
in four robes playing at dice all of a holiday, or three servants 
carrying home the murdered Caesar on a litter, "with one 
arm hanging down." 

May, 1931. 



1 IN his sixteenth year Caesar lost his father. During the 
next consulate, having been nominated high-priest of Jupiter, 2 
he broke his engagement with Cossutia, a lady of only eques- 
trian rank but very wealthy, engaged to him since his child- 
hood, and married Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna, four times 
Consul, by whom he afterwards had a daughter, Julia. ID 
resisting the efforts of Sulla, the Dictator, to force him to 
divorce Cornelia, he suffered the loss of his sacerdotal office, 
his wife's dowry, all his family inheritances, and was held to be 
of the opposition. He was accordingly forced to leave Rome, 
and although suffering from a quartan ague, to shift from 
one hiding-place to another almost every night. He saved him- 
self from Sulla's detectives by bribes, until, by the mediation 
of the Vestal Virgins and of his near kinsmen, Aemilius 
Mamercus and Aurelius Cotta, he obtained a pardon. Every 
one knows that Sulla, after he had long denied the requests of 
the most devoted and eminent men of his own party who inter- 
ceded for Caesar, and they obstinately persisted, at last yielded 
and cried out, either through divine inspiration or shrewd con- 
jecture: "Have your way and take him. But, bear this in 
mind: the man you are so eager to save will one day be the 
ruin of the nobles, whose side you have upheld with me; for 
in this Caesar there is more than one Marius." 8 

He first served in the wars in Asia on the personal staff of 
Marcus Thermus, Governor of the province, by whom he was 
sent to Bithynia 4 to bring out a fleet. He loitered there so 

1 The opening chapters of this life are missing. 

2 Flamen Dialis, an office of great dignity, political rather than 

8 Marius (Consul with Cinna in 86 B.C.) was leader of the party 
of the people, Sulla of the nobles. Sulla suspected Caesar of belonging 
to Marius* party because Marius' wife, Julia, was Caesar's aunt. 

* South of the Black Sea. 


!ong at the court of Nicomedes as to give occasion to rumors 
that he prostituted his body to the use of the King. He aur- 
mented this rumor by a hasty return to Bithynia under the pre- 
text of collecting a debt for a freedman, one of his dependents. 
The rest of the campaign was more favorable to his reputa- 
tion, and, after the successful assault of Mytilene, Thermus 
honored him with a civic garland. 1 

He also served in Cilicia 2 under Servilius Isauricus, but 
only for a short time. For, upon learning of the death of Sulla, 
and at the same time with the hope of profiting by the new 
dissensions which Marcus Lepidus was instigating, he hastily 
returned to Rome. But, although he was offered highly favor- 
able terms, he did not join up with Lepidus, through lack of 
confidence in that leader's capacity and in the outlook, which 
he found much less favorable than he had expected. 

After this civil discord had been composed, he preferred a 
charge of extortion against Cornelius Dolabella, an ex-Consul 
who had been honored with a triumph. On the acquittal of the 
accused, Caesar determined to retire to Rhodes, 8 as well to 
escape the ill-will he had incurred, as to rest and have leisure 
to study under Apollonius Molo, the most renowned teacher of 
oratory in those days. 

On his voyage there, the winter season having already 
begun, he was taken by pirates near the island of Pharma- 
cussa, and, burning with indignation, held captive by them 
for nearly forty days, accompanied only by a physician and 
two body-servants. For his traveling companions and the rest 
of his attendants he had sent off at the outset, to procure 
money for his ransom. Once they released him on shore, upon 
payment of fifty talents, 4 he did not delay but at once col- 
lected some ships, put to sea again, and did not cease pursuing 
them till he had overtaken them. No sooner were they in his 

1 A crown of oak leaves usually given for having saved the life of 
a fellow-citizen, although officers in the army were sometimes honored 
with it. 

2 Southern Asia Minor, Syria to the east, the Mediterranean to the 

8 Famous then as a center of learning. The Colossus, a huge statue 
indicated to the sun, was there. 
* $56,600! 


power than he inflicted on them the punishment with which 
he had often threatened them in jest. 1 He then proceeded to 

At that time Mithridates was ravaging the adjoining re- 
gions. Because he would not be thought to sit still and do 
nothing when the confederate nations and allies of Rome were 
in this dangerous situation, he crossed over into Asia, gathered 
a power of auxiliaries, drove the King's Governor from the 
province, and so held the wavering and irresolute states to 
their allegiance. 

While serving as Military Tribune, 2 the first office conferred 
on him by the vote of the people after his return to Rome, he 
zealously supported those leaders who stood out for the resti- 
tution of the authority of the Tribunes of the Commons, 8 the 
extent of which Sulla had curtailed. Furthermore, through a 
bill proposed by one Plotius, he effected the recall of Lucius 
Cinna, his wife's brother, as well as that of the others who 
had been adherents of Lepidus in his insurrection and who, 
after that Consul's death, had fled to Sertorius. He himself 
supported the measure in a speech. 

When Quaestor, 4 he pronounced the customary orations 
from the rostra in praise of his aunt Julia and his wife Cor- 
nelia, both deceased. And in the eulogy of his aunt he spoke 
in the following terms of her paternal and maternal ancestry 
and that of his own father: "My aunt Julia is descended on 
her mother's side from the Kings, and on her father's side is 
akin to the immortal Gods: for the Marcii Reges, from whom 
comes the name of her mother's family, are derived from 
Ancus Marcius, and the Julii, the family of which ours is a 
branch, from Venus. 6 Our stock therefore has at once the 
sanctity of Kings, who among men are most powerful, and the 

1 Suetonius says later that he was merciful. He cut their throats 
before crucifying them. 

2 Colonel. A legion had six, each commanding for two months in the 

8 A magistrate charged with the protection of the commons against 
the patricians. 

* Originally two deputies of the Consuls, to investigate and try capi- 
tal crimes. 

* Through Aeneas, fabled prince of Troy, and his son Julius. 


daim to reverence which attaches to the Gods, to whom Rings 
themselves are subject." 

In place of Cornelia he then wedded Pompeia, daughter of 
Quintus Pompeius and granddaughter of Lucius Sulla. But he 
afterward divorced her, suspecting her of adultery with Pub- 
iius Clodius. As a matter of fact the report was so persistent 
that Clodius, disguised in woman's apparel, had secretly 
gained access to her at the celebration of a public religious 
ceremony the Senate by decree directed that this pollution of 
sacred rites be judicially investigated. 1 

While he was Quaestor it fell to him by lot to serve in 
Farther Spain. While there, as he rode his circuit of the assize- 
towns to hold court under order of the Praetor, 2 he came to 
Gades, where he noticed a statue of Alexander the Great in 
the temple of Hercules. At the sight of it he drew a deep sigh, 
as one displeased with his own shortcomings, in that he had 
as yet performed no memorable act, whereas at his age Alex- 
ander had already conquered the whole world. 8 

He soon after made earnest suit for his discharge, in order 
to seize the first opportunity to compass greater enterprises 
at home within the city. The following night he was much 
disquieted by a dream in which he imagined he had carnal 
company with his own mother. But hopes of most glorious 
achievement were kindled in him by the soothsayers, who 
interpreted the dream to mean that he was destined to have 
sovereignty over all the world, his mother whom he saw under 
him signifying none other than the earth, which is counted 
the mother of all things. 

Leaving Spain, therefore, before the expiration of the accus- 
tomed term, he went to the Latin colonies, which were then 
in a state of unrest and meditating a demand for citizenship. 
He might have excited them to some rash act, but that the 
Consuls, 4 anticipating this very danger, detained there the 

1 From the rites of Bona Dea, which were performed at night, all men 
were excluded. 

2 Governor of the province. 

8 Alexander, it will be remembered, was only 33 at the time of his 

* The highest magistracy of the Roman republic was vested in two 
Consuls, chosen by vote annually. About 367 B.C. plebeians were admit- 
ted to the office. 


legions which had been enrolled for service in Cilicia. 

And yet, for all that, he soon after entertained more daring 
designs in Rome. For only a few days before he entered upon 
his aedileship, 1 he was suspected of having conspired with 
Marcus Crassus, an ex-consul, together with Publius Sulla 
and Lucius Autronius, who, after they had been elected Con^ 
suls, had been convicted of bribery. The plan of the con- 
spirators was to fall upon the Senate at the opening of the 
new year and, after they had massacred as many as they 
thought necessary, Crassus was to usurp the Dictatorship 
and appoint Caesar Master of Horse. 2 When they had re 
organized the state to their wishes, the consulship was to be 
restored to Autronius. Mention is made of this conspiracy by 
Tanusius Geminus in his History, by Marcus Bibulus 3 ir 
his edicts, and by Gaius Curio the elder in his speeches. Cicero, 
too, seems to imply as much in a letter to Axius, where he 
says that Caesar in his consulship secured for himself that 
arbitrary power which he had contemplated when Aedile. 
Tanusius adds that Crassus, either from remorse or from fear, 
did not appear on the day appointed for the massacre, and 
that therefore Caesar did not give the signal, which it had 
been agreed he should give. This signal, Curio says, was that 
Caesar should let his toga fall from his shoulder. We have the 
authority of the same Curio, as well as that of Marcus Actorius 
Naso, that Caesar also conspired with Gnaeus Piso, a youth 
to whom the province of Spain was assigned unsought and out 
of regular order, 4 because he was suspected of conspiring in 
the city; that they had agreed to stir up insurrection simul- 
taneously, Piso abroad and Caesar at Rome, using as their 
instruments the Ambrani and the tribes beyond the Po; but 
that the death of Piso frustrated both their designs. 

When Caesar was Aedile, he decorated not only the Co- 
mitium 6 and the Forum with its adjacent halls but also the 

1 Aedile, commissioner of buildings. 

2 The Master of Horse commanded the Knights, and executed the 
orders of the Dictator. 

8 Caesar's colleague, both as Aedile and Consul. 
4 An honorable banishment. 

6 A covered building in which the assemblies of the people wer* 


Capitol, building temporary galleries for the purpose of dis- 
playing some part of the abundant paraphernalia he had col- 
lected for the amusement of the people. He exhibited combats 
with wild beasts, and stage-plays, too, both jointly with his 
companion in office and independently. The result was that, 
although the charges were borne in common by them both, 
Caesar alone obtained all the credit. Nor did his colleague, 
Marcus Bibulus, dissemble the matter, but openly said that 
he served in the manner of Pollux; that just as the temple 
erected in the Forum to both the twin brothers bore the name 
of Castor alone, even so the joint munificence of Caesar and 
himself was credited to Caesar alone. Caesar gave a gladiatorial 
show besides, but not with so many pairs of combatants as he 
had intended. 1 He had assembled from all quarters such a 
huge band his enemies became alarmed, and a decree was 
made restricting the number of gladiators which any one was 
permitted to retain in Rome. 

Having won the favor of the populace, Caesar endeavored, 
through his association with some of the Tribunes, to obtain, 
by a decree of the Commons, Egypt assigned him as a prov- 
ince. The opportunity he seized for asking so irregular an 
appointment was that the Alexandrians had deposed their 
King 2 whom the Senate had named an ally and friend of the 
Roman people, and this was generally resented. Nevertheless, 
there was so much opposition from the party of the nobles, 
he failed to carry his point. Wishing, therefore, to impair their 
influence by every means in his power he restored the trophies 
erected to commemorate the victories of Gaius Marius over 
Jugurtha, the Cimbri, and Teutoni, which had long before 
been demolished by Sulla. Furthermore, when sitting in judg- 
ment upon murders he treated as assassins even those who, in 
the late proscription, 8 had received money from the public 
treasury for bringing in the heads of Roman citizens, although 
they were expressly excepted by the Cornelian laws. 

He likewise bribed some one to prefer a charge of treason 

1 And yet with 320 pairs according to Plutarch. 

2 Ptolemy Auletes, father of Cleopatra. 

8 That of Sulla, who had outlawed the opposing faction led by 
C. Marius, and had given a reward of $2,264 for the head of any of its 
partisans brought in. 


against Caius Rabirius, who, a few years before, had rendered 
conspicuous service to the Senate in repressing the seditious 
designs of the Tribune Lucius Saturninus, and being drawn 
by lot a judge on the trial, he condemned the man with such 
eagerness that when Rabirius appealed to the people, nothing 
did him so much good as the extraordinary bitterness of his. 

After renouncing all hope of obtaining Egypt for his prov- 
ince, he announced himself candidate for the office of Chief 
Priest, having recourse to the most profuse bribery. Thinking 
about the enormous debts he had thus contracted, he is re- 
ported to have said to his mother, when she kissed him as he 
was going out in the morning to the assembly for the election, 
that he would never return home except as Pontiff. And indeed, 
he so decisively defeated his two most powerful competitors, 
both his superiors in age and rank, that he had more votes in 
their tribes than were cast for both of them in all the tribes 

After he was chosen Praetor, 1 the conspiracy of Catiline was 
discovered. And while every other member of the Senate voted 
for inflicting capital punishment on the accomplices in the 
plot, he alone proposed that their property be confiscated, and 
that each be imprisoned in a separate town. He even struck 
such terror into those who advocated greater severity, by 
representing to them what universal odium would be attached 
to their memories by the Roman people, that Decius Silanus, 
Consul-elect, was not ashamed to mollify his proposal, since 
it would have been humiliating to change it, alleging it had 
been understood in a harsher sense than he had intended. 
Caesar would certainly have carried his point, for many had 
already gone over to his side, among them Cicero, the Con- 
sul's brother, had not a speech by Marcus Cato kept the 
wavering Senate in line. 

Yet not even then did he cease from obstructing the measure 
until a body of the Roman Knights, who stood under arms as 
a guard, threatened him with instant death, if he continued 
his headstrong opposition. They even made such passes at 

1 At Rome the Praetor's function was judicial. After 264 B.C. there 
were two, one the judge over citizens 1 cases, one over those of 


him with their drawn swords that those who sat next him 
moved away, while a few friends with difficulty protected him 
by throwing their arms or togas about him. At last, in evident 
fear, he not only yielded the point but, for the rest of the 
year, absented himself from the senate-house. 

On the first day of his praetorship, he called upon Quintus 
Catulus to render an account to the people respecting the 
restoration of the Capitol, proposing a bill for transferring 
the office of curator to another. But he withdrew the measure, 
since he could not cope with the united opposition of the 
aristocrats, who he perceived had at once dropped attend- 
ance on the newly elected Consuls, 1 and hastily gathered in 
throngs resolved on obstinate resistance. 

Nevertheless, when Caecilius Metellus, Tribune of the Com- 
mons, brought forward some bills of a highly seditious nature 2 
in spite of all the opposition of his colleagues, Caesar abetted 
him and espoused his cause in the most stubborn manner, 
until at last both were suspended from the exercise of their 
public functions by a decree of the Senate. Yet in spite of 
this, Caesar had the audacity to continue in office and to hold 
court. But when he learned that some were ready to stop him 
by force of arms, he dismissed his Lictors, 8 laid aside his robe 
of office, and slipped off privily to his house, intending to re- 
main in retirement because of the state of the times. Indeed, 
when the populace on the following day flocked to him quite 
of their own accord, and with riotous demonstrations offered 
him their aid in recovering his position, he held them in check. 
Since this action of his was wholly unexpected, the Senate, 
which had been hurriedly convoked to take action about that 
very gathering, publicly thanked him through its leading 
men. Then, summoning him to the House and lauding him in 
the strongest terms, they rescinded their former decree and 
restored him to his office. 

1 When Consuls-elect went to the Capitol to offer sacrifice at the 
beginning of their term of office, January i, it was the custom for 
their friends to escort them to the temple and back to their homes. 

2 One of these proposed that Pompey be recalled from Asia, on the 
pretext the commonwealth was in danger. Cato was one of the colleagues 
who saw through the design and opposed the decree. 

8 Official attendants on a magistrate. 


He again fell into danger by being named among the ac- 
complices of Catiline, both before the commissioner Novius 
Niger by an informer called Lucius Vettius and in the Senate 
by Quintus Curius, who had been voted a sum of money from 
the public funds for having first discovered the designs of the 
conspirators. Curius alleged that his information came directly 
from Catiline, while Vettius actually offered to produce a 
letter to Catiline in Caesar's handwriting. As this was an 
indignity Caesar knew intolerable, he showed by appealing 
to Cicero's testimony that he had of his own accord reported 
to the Consul certain details of the plot, and thus prevented 
Curius from getting the reward. As for Vettius, after his 
bond was declared forfeit and his goods seized, he was roughly 
handled by the populace assembled before the rostra, and all 
but torn to pieces. Caesar then put him in prison, and Novius 
the commissioner went there, too, for allowing an official of 
superior rank to be arraigned before his tribunal. 

Being allotted the province of Farther Spain after his 
praetorship, Caesar got rid of his creditors, who tried to 
detain him, by means of sureties, 1 and, contrary to both law 
and precedent, was on his way before his appointment was 
confirmed by the Senate and funds and equipment provided. 
It is uncertain whether this precipitancy arose through fear 
of some judicial proceeding against him as a private person, 
or that he might the more promptly respond to the entreaties 
of our allies for help. After restoring order in his province, he 
made as great haste to leave it, not waiting for the arrival of 
his successor, and to sue at the same time for a triumph and 
the consulship. But inasmuch as the day for the elections had 
already been announced and no account could be taken of 
Caesar's candidacy unless he entered the city as a private 
citizen, and since his intrigues to gain exemption from the 
laws met with general protest, he was forced to forego the 
triumph, to avoid losing the consulship. 

Of the two competing candidates for this office, Lucius Luc- 
ceius and Marcus Bibulus, Caesar joined forces with the for- 
mer, making a bargain with him that since Lucceius had less 

1 Plutarch asserts that Caesar, when he came into office, owed 
$1471,600. From then until he departed for Spain his debts increased 


influence but more funds, he should in their common name 
promise largess to the electors from hs owr pocket. W^en 
this became known, the aristocracy authorized Bibulus to 
promise the same amount, being seized with fear that Caesar 
would stick at nothing when he became chief magistrate, if 
he had a colleague who was heart and soul with him. Many of 
them contributed to the fund, and even Cato did not deny 
that bribery under such circumstances was for the good of 
the commonwealth. 1 

So Caesar was chosen Consul with Bibulus. With the same 
motives the aristocracy took care that provinces of the small- 
est importance should be assigned to the newly elected Con- 
suls, that is, mere woods and pastures. 2 Thereupon Caesar, 
especially incensed by this slight, by every possible attention 
courted the goodwill of Gnaeus Pompeius, who was at odds 
with the Senate because of its tardiness in ratifying his acts 
after his victory over King Mithridates. He also patched up a 
peace between Pompeius and Marcus Crassus, who had been 
enemies since their consulship, which had been one of con- 
stant wrangling. Then he made an agreement 3 with them, that 
no step should be taken in public affairs which did not suit 
any one of the three. 

Caesar's very first enactment after becoming Consul was, 
tfiat the proceedings both of the Senate and of the people 
should day by day be compiled and published. He also revived 
a by-gone custom, that during the months when he did not 
have the fasces an orderly should walk before him, while the 
Lictors followed him. He brought forward an agrarian law, 
too, and when his colleague announced adverse omens, 4 he 
resorted to arms and drove him from the Forum; and when 

1 Yet there were strict laws against bribery at electons. Sallust 
(Jugurth. VIII, 20, 3) say* that, were one rich enough, Rome itself 
might be bought. 

2 The Senate would not run the risk of letting Caesar secure a prov- 
ince involving the command of an army. 

8 This compact bred the civil war that ensued between Caesar and 

4 Business could be Interrupted or postponed by the announcement of 
an auger or a magistrate that he had seen a flash of lightning or some 
other adverse sign; sometimes an opponent merely announced that ht 
would "watch the skies 1 ' for such omens. 


next day Bibulus made complaint in the Senate and no one 
could be found who ventured to make a motion, or even to 
express an opinion about so high-handed a proceeding (al- 
though decrees had often been passed touching less serious 
breaches of the peace), Caesar's conduct drove him to such a 
pitch of desperation, that from that time until the end of his 
term he did not leave his house, but merely issued proclama- 
tions announcing adverse omens. 

From that time on Caesar managed all the affairs of state 
alone and according to his own pleasure ; so that sundry witty 
fellows, pretending by way of jest to sign and seal testamen- 
tary documents, wrote "Done in the consulship of Julius and 
Caesar," instead of "Bibulus and Caesar," writing down the 
same man twice, by name and by surname. Presently too the 
following verses were on every one's lips: 

"Caesar of late did many things, but Bibulus not one; 
For naught by Consul Bibulus can I remember done." 

The plain called Stellas, which had been devoted to the 
Gods by the men of by-gone days, and the Campanian ter- 
ritory, which had been reserved to pay revenues for the aid 
of the government, he divided * without casting lots among 
twenty thousand citizens who had three or more children 
each. When the publicans asked for relief, he freed them from 
a third part of their obligation, and openly warned them in 
contracting for taxes in the future not to bid too recklessly. 
He freely granted everything else that any one took it into 
his head to ask, either without opposition or by intimidating 
any one who tried to object. Marcus Cato, who tried to delay 
proceedings, 2 was dragged from the House by a Lictor at 
Caesar's command and taken off to prison. When Lucius 
Lucullus was somewhat too outspoken in his opposition, he 
filled him with such fear of malicious prosecution, 3 that Lucul- 
lus actually fell on his knees before him. Because Cicero, 
while pleading in court, deplored the state of the times, Caesar 
transferred the orator's enemy Publius Clodius that very same 

1 Through a special commission of twenty men. 

2 By making a speech of several hours' duration. 

* For his conduct during the war with Mithridates. 


day from the patricians to the plebeians, a thing for which 
Clodius had for a long time been vainly striving; 1 and that 
too at the ninth hour. 8 Finally taking action against all the 
opposition in a body, he bribed an informer to declare that 
he had been egged on by certain men to murder Pompey, and 
to come out upon the rostrum and name the guilty parties ac- 
cording to a prearranged plot. But when the informer had 
named one or two to no purpose and not without suspicion of 
double-dealing, Caesar, hopeless of the success of his over- 
hasty attempt, is supposed to have had him taken off by 

At about the same time he took to wife Calpurnia, daughter 
of Lucius Piso, who was to succeed him in the consulship, and 
affianced his own daughter Julia to Gnaeus Pompeius, break- 
ing a previous engagement with Servilius Caepio, although the 
latter had shortly before rendered him conspicuous service in 
his contest with Bibulus. After this new alliance he began to 
call upon Pompey first to give his opinion in the Senate, al- 
though it had been his habit to begin with Crassus, and it 
was the rule for the Consul in calling for opinions to continue 
throughout the year the order which he had established on 
the Kalends of January. 

Backed therefore by his father-in-law and son-in-law, out 
of all the numerous provinces he made the Gauls his choice, 
as the most likely to enrich him and furnish suitable material 
for triumphs. At first, it is true, by the bill of Vatinius he re- 
ceived only Cisalpine Gaul with the addition of Illyricum. 
But presently he was assigned Gallia Comata as well by the 
Senate, since the members feared that even if they should re- 
fuse it, the people would give him this also. Transported with 
joy at this success, he could not keep from boasting a few days 
later before a crowded house, that having gained his heart's 
desire to the grief and lamentation of his opponents, he would 
therefore from that time mount on their heads. 8 And when 
some one insultingly remarked that that would be no easy 
matter for any woman, he replied in the same vein that Semi- 

1 That he might be a candidate for the tribuneship of the people. 

2 At 3 P.M. when the business day ended. 

8 Used in a double sense, the second implying fellatio. 


ramis too had been Queen in Syria and the Amazons in days of 
old had held sway over a great part of Asia. 

When, at the close of his consulship, the Praetors Gaius 
Memmius and Lucius Domitius moved an inquiry into his 
conduct during the previous year, Caesar laid the matter be- 
fore the Senate. When they failed to take it up, and three days 
had been wasted in fruitless wrangling, he went off to his 
province. Whereupon his Quaestor was at once arraigned on 
several counts, as a preliminary to his own impeachment. 
Presently he himself too was prosecuted by Lucius Antistius, 
Tribune of the Commons, and it was only by appealing to the 
whole college that he contrived not to be brought to trial, on 
the ground that he was absent on public service. Then to se- 
cure himself for the future, he took great pains always to put 
the magistrates for the year under personal obligation, and 
not to aid any candidates or suffer any to be elected, save such 
as guaranteed to defend him in his absence. And he did not 
hesitate in some cases to exact an oath to keep this pledge ot 
even a written contract. 

When, however, Lucius Domitius, candidate for the consul- 
ship, openly threatened to effect as Consul what he had been 
unable to do as Praetor, and to take his armies from him, 
Caesar compelled Pompeius and Crassus to come to Luca, a 
city in his province, where he prevailed on them to stand for a 
second consulship, to defeat Domitius; and he also succeeded 
through their influence in having his term as Governor of 
Gaul made five years longer. Encouraged by this, he added to 
the legions which he had received from the state others at his 
own cost, one actually composed of men of Transalpine Gaul 
and bearing a Gallic name too (for it was called Alauda), 
which he trained in the Roman tactics and equipped with 
Roman arms; and later on he gave every man of it citizenship. 
After that he did not let slip any pretext for war, however 
unjust and dangerous it might be, picking quarrels as well 
with allied, as with hostile and barbarous nations; so that 
once the Senate decreed that a commission be sent to inquire 
into the condition of the Gallic provinces, and some even rec- 
ommended that Caesar be handed over to the enemy. But as 


his enterprises prospered, supplication days 1 were appointed 
in his honor oftener and for longer periods than for any one 
before his time. 

During the nine years of his command this is in substance 
what he did. All that part of Gaul which is bounded by the 
Pyrenees, the Alps and the Cevennes, and by the Rhine and 
Rhone rivers, a circuit of some 3,200 2 miles, not counting 
some allied states which had rendered him good service, he 
reduced to the form of a province; and imposed upon it a 
yearly tribute of 40,000,000 sesterces. 8 He was the first 
Roman to build a bridge and attack the Germans beyond the 
Rhine; and he inflicted heavy losses upon them. He invaded 
the Britons too, a people unknown before, vanquished them, 
and exacted moneys and hostages. Amid all these successes 
he met with adverse fortune but three times in all: in Britain, 
where his fleet narrowly escaped destruction in a violent 
storm; in Gaul, when one of his legions was routed at Ger- 
govia; and in the land of Germany, when his lieutenants 
Titurius and Aurunculeius were ambushed and slain. 

Within this same space of time he lost first his mother, then 
his daughter, 4 and soon afterwards his grandson. Meanwhile, 
as the community was aghast at the murder of Publius 
Clodius, the Senate had voted that only one Consul should be 
chosen, and expressly named Gnaeus Pompeius. When the 
Tribunes planned to make him Pompey's colleague, Caesar 
urged them rather to propose to the people that he be per- 
mitted to stand for a second consulship without coming to 
Rome, when the term of his governorship drew near its end, to 
prevent his being forced for the sake of the office to leave his 
province prematurely and without finishing the war. On the 
granting of this, aiming still higher and flushed with hope, he 
neglected nothing in the way of lavish expenditure or of fa- 
vors to any one, either in his public capacity or privately. He 

1 Thanksgiving days in which honor was done to a victorious general. 
At first the solemnities continued but one day, but in time to twelve. At 
length Caesar obtained it for fifteen and even twenty days together, as 
he himself proudly asserts in his Commentaries, II, 35 and VII, So* 

2 Roman measure. A Roman mile was 1,000 paces. 
8 $2,040,000.00. 

4 Julia died in childbirth. 


began a ^orum with the proceeds of hisr spoils, the ground for 
which cot more than a hundred million sesterces. 1 He an- 
nounced a combat of gladiators and a feast for the people in 
memory of his daughter, a thing quite without precedent. To 
raise the expectation of these events to the highest possible 
pitch, he had the material for the banquet prepared in part 
by his own household, although he had let contracts to the 
markets as well. He issued an order too that whenever famous 
gladiators fought without winning the favor of the people, they 
should be rescued by force and kept for him. 2 He had the 
novices trained, not in a gladiatorial school by professionals, 
but in private houses by Roman Knights and even by Sena- 
tors who were skilled in arms, earnestly beseeching them, as 
is shown by his own letters, to give the recruits individual 
attention and personally direct their exercises. He doubled 
the pay of the legions for all time. Whenever grain was plenti- 
ful, he distributed it to them without stint or measure, and 
now and then gave each man a slave from among the captives. 

Moreover, to retain his relationship and friendship with 
Pompey, Caesar offered him his sister's granddaughter Oc- 
tavia in marriage, although she was already the wife of Gaius 
Marcellus, and asked for the hand of Pompey's daughter, who 
was promised to Faustus Sulla. When he had put all Pompey's 
friends under obligation, as well as the great part of the Sen- 
ate, through loans made without interest or at a low rate, he 
lavished gifts on men of all other classes, both those whom 
he invited to accept his bounty and those who applied to him 
unasked, including even freedmen and slaves who were special 
favorites of their masters or patrons. In short, he was the sole 
and ever ready help of all who were in legal difficulties or in 
debt and of young spendthrifts, excepting only those whose 
burden of guilt or of poverty was so heavy, or who were so 
given up to riotous living, that even he could not save them. 
And to these he declared in the plainest terms that what they 
needed was a civil war. 

He took no less pains to win the devotion of princes and 

1 $4,400,000.00. Conquest had so multiplied business at Rome, the 
Forum had become too small for transacting it. It could not be enlarged 
without razing adjoining buildings. 

9 Ordinarily they would be put to death. 


provinces all over the world, offering prisoners to some by the 
thousand as a gift, and sending auxiliary troops to the aid of 
others whenever they wished, and as often as they wished, 
without the sanction of the Senate or people, besides adorning 
the principal cities of Asia and Greece with magnificent pub- 
lic works, as well as those of Italy and the provinces of Gaul 
and Spain. At last, when all were thunder-struck at his actions 
and wondered what their purpose could be, the Consul Mar- 
cus Claudius Marcellus, after first making proclamation that 
he purposed to bring before the Senate a matter of the highest 
public moment, proposed that a successor to Caesar be ap- 
pointed before the end of his term, on the ground that the war 
was ended, peace was established, and the victorious army 
ought to be disbanded. He further proposed that no account 
be taken of Caesar at the elections, unless he were present, 
as Pompey himself had afterwards not annulled the decree 
of the people. And it was true that when Pompey proposed a 
bill touching the privileges of officials, in the clause where he 
debarred absentees from candidacy for office he forgot to 
make a special exception in Caesar's case, and did not correct 
the oversight until the law had been inscribed on a tablet of 
bronze and deposited in the treasury. Not content with de- 
priving Caesar of his provinces and his privilege, Marcellus 
also moved that the colonists whom Caesar had settled in 
Novum Comum by the bill of Vatinius should lose their citi- 
zenship, on the ground that it had been given from political 
motives and was not authorized by the law. 

Aroused by these measures, and thinking, as they say he 
was often heard to remark, that now that he was the leading 
man of the state, it would be harder to push him down from 
the first place to the second than from the second to the low- 
est, Caesar stoutly resisted Marcellus, partly through vetoes 
of the Tribunes and partly through the other Consul, Servius 
Sulpicius. When next year Gaius Marcellus, who had suc- 
ceeded his cousin Marcus as Consul, tried the same thing, 
Caesar by means of an immense bribe secured the support 
of the other Consul, Aemilius Paulus, and of Gaius Curio, the 
most reckless of the Tribunes. But seeing that everything 
against him was being pushed most persistently, and that even 
the Consuls-elect were among the opposition, he sent a written 


appeal to the Senate, not to take from him the privilege which 
the people had granted, or else to compel the others in com' 
mand of armies to resign also; feeling sure, it was thought, 
that he could more readily muster his veterans as soon as he 
wished, than Pompey his newly levied troops. He further 
proposed a compromise to his opponents, that after giving up 
eight legions and Transalpine Gaul, he be allowed to keep 
two legions and Cisalpine Gaul, or at least one legion x and 
Illyricum, until he was elected Consul. 

But when the Senate declined to interfere, and his oppo- 
nents declared that they would accept no compromise in a 
matter affecting the public welfare, he crossed to Hither Gaul, 
and after holding all the assizes, halted at Ravenna, intend- 
ing to resort to war if the Senate took any drastic action 
against the Tribunes of the Commons who interposed vetoes 
in his behalf. 2 Now this was his excuse for the civil war, but 
it is believed that he had other motives. Gnaeus Pompeius 
used to declare that since Caesar's own means were not suf- 
ficient to complete the works which he had planned, nor to do 
all that he had led the people to expect on his return, he de- 
sired a state of general unrest and turmoil. Others say that 
he dreaded the necessity of rendering an account for what he 
had done in his firsc consulship contrary to the auspices and 
the laws, and regardless of vetoes. For Marcus Cato often de- 
clared, and took oath too, that he would impeach Caesar the 
moment he had disbanded his army. It was openly said too 
that if he was out of office on his return, he would be obliged, 
like Milo, 8 to make his defense in a court hedged about by 
armed men. The latter opinion is the more credible one in 
view of the assertion of Asinius Pollio, that when Caesar at 
the battle of Pharsalus 4 saw his enemies slain or in flight, he 
said, word for word: "They would have it so. Even I, Gaiu? 
Caesar, after so many great deeds, should have been found 

1 A legion was a force of 3,600 foot-soldiers and 300 cavalry. 

2 The Senate did pass a decree that Caesar should disband his armj 
before a given date. The Tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassiu* 
exercised their privilege and vetoed it. The Senate disregarded the vetty 
and the Tribunes were obliged to seek safety in flight. 

8 Milo had murdered Publius Clodius. 

4 Where he defeated Pompey in 48 B.C. 


guilty, if I had not turned to my army for help." Some think 
habit had given him a love of power, and that weighing the 
strength of his adversaries against his own, he grasped the 
opportunity of usurping the despotism which had been his 
heart's desire from early youth. Cicero too was seemingly of 
this opinion, when he wrote in the third book of his De Officiis 
that Caesar ever had upon his lips these lines of Euripides, 1 
of which Cicero himself adds a version: 

"Be just, unless a kingdom tempts to break the laws, 
For sovereign power alone can justify the cause." 

Accordingly, when word came that the veto of the Tribunes 
had been set aside and they themselves had left the city, he 
at once sent on a few cohorts with all secrecy, and then, to 
disarm suspicion, concealed his purpose by appearing at a 
public show, inspecting the plans of a gladiatorial school 
which he intended building, and joining as usual in a banquet 
with a large company. It was not until after sunset that he 
set out very privily with a small company, taking the mules 
from a bakeshop hard by and harnessing them to a carriage. 
When his lights went out and he lost his way, he was astray 
for some time, but at last found a guide at dawn and got back 
to the road on foot by narrow bypaths. Then, overtaking his 
cohorts at the river Rubicon, 2 which was the boundary of his 
province, he paused for a while, and realizing what a step he 
was taking, he turned to those about him and said: "Even yet 
we may turn back; but once cross yon little bridge, and the 
whole issue is with the sword." 

As he stood in doubt, this sign was given him. On a sudden 
there appeared hard by a being of wondrous stature and 
beauty, who sat and played upon a reed. And when not only 
the shepherds flocked to hear him, but many of the soldiers 
left their posts, and among them some of the trumpeters, the 
apparition snatched a trumpet from one of them, rushed to 
the rjyer, and sounding the warnote with mighty blast, strode 
to the opposite bank. Then Caesar cried: "Take we the course 

1 In Phoenissae, 524. 

It was near Rimini. There was a very old law of the republic to th 
effect that no general, returning from the wars, should cross the Rubicon 
with his troops under arms. 


rfiich the signs of the Gods and the false dealing of our foes 
>oint out. The die is cast," said he. 

Accordingly, crossing with his army, and welcoming the 
Tribunes of the Commons, who had come to him after being 
Iriven from Rome, he harangued the soldiers with tears, and 
ending his robe from his breast besought their faithful serv- 
ce. It is even thought that he promised every man a Knight's 
state, but that came of a misunderstanding. For, since he 
rften pointed to the finger of his left hand as he addressed 
hem and urged them on, declaring that to satisfy all those 
vho helped him to defend his honor he would gladly tear his 
'ery ring from his hand, those on the edge of the assembly, 
vho could see him better than they could hear his words, as- 
umed that he said what his gesture seemed to mean ; and so 
he report went about that he had promised them the right of 
he ring and four hundred thousand sesterces l as well. 

The sum total of his movements after that is, in their order, 
LS follows: He overran Umbria, Picenum, and Etruria, took 
>risoner Lucius Domitius, who had been irregularly named 
iis successor and was holding Corfinium with a garrison, let 
lim go free, and then proceeded along the Adriatic to Brun- 
lisium, where Pompey and the Consuls had taken refuge, in- 
ending to cross the sea as soon as might be. After vainly 
rying by every kind of hindrance to prevent their sailing, he 
narched off to Rome, and after calling the Senate together 
o discuss public business, went to attack Pompey's strongest 
brces, which were in Spain under command of three of his 
ieutenants Marcus Petreius, Lucius Afranius, and Marcus 
/arro saying to his friends before he left: "I go to meet an 
irmy without a leader, and I shall return to meet a leader 
vithout an army." And in fact, though his advance was de- 
ayed by the siege of Massilia, which had shut its gates against 
lim, and by extreme scarcity of supplies, he nevertheless 
luickly gained a complete victory. 

Returning thence to Rome, he crossed into Macedonia, and 
ifter blockading Pompey for almost four months behind 

1 Knights, as well as Senators, had the privilege of wearing a gold 
ing, and must possess an estate of 400,000 sesterces ($16,400). Liberal 
is Caesar was to his legionaries, such imagined largess was beyond all 
Reasonable expectation. 


mighty ramparts, finally routed him in the battle of Phar- 
salus, followed him in his flight to Alexandria, and when he 
learned that his rival had been slain, made war on King 
Ptolemy, who he perceived had treacherous designs upon 
his own life as well; a war in truth of great difficulty, con- 
venient neither in time nor place, but carried on during the 
winter season, within the walls of a well-provisioned and crafty 
foeman, while Caesar himself was without supplies of any 
kind and ill-prepared. Victor in spite of all, he turned over the 
rule of Egypt to Cleopatra and her younger brother, fearing 
that if he made a province of it, it might one day under a 
headstrong Governor be a source of revolution. From Alex- 
andria he crossed to Syria, and from there went to Pontus, 
spurred on by the news that Pharnaces, son of Mithridates 
the Great, had taken advantage of the situation to make war, 
and was already flushed with numerous successes. But Caesar 
vanquished him in a single battle within five days after his 
arrival and four hours after getting sight of him, often re- 
marking on Pompey's good luck in gaining his principal fame 
as a general by victories over such feeble foemen. Then he 
overcame Scipio and Juba, who were patching up the remnants 
of their party in Africa, and the sons of Pompey in Spain. 

In all the civil wars he suffered not a single disaster except 
among his lieutenants, of whom Gaius Curio perished in 
Africa, Gaius Antonius fell into the hands of the enemy in 
Illyricum, Publius Dolabella lost a fleet also off Illyricum, and 
Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus an army in Pontus. Personally he 
always fought with the utmost success, and the issue was 
never even in doubt save twice : once at Dyrrachium, where he 
was put to flight, and said of Pompey, who failed to follow up 
his success, that he did not know how to use a victory ; again 
in Spain, in the final struggle, when, believing the battle lost, 
he actually thought of suicide. 

Having ended the wars, he celebrated five triumphs, four 
in a single month, but at intervals of a few days, after van- 
quishing Scipio; and another on defeating Pompey 's sons. 
The first and most splendid was the Gallic triumph, the next 
the Alexandrian, then the Pontic, after that the African, and 
finally the Spanish, each differing from the rest in its equip- 
ment and display of spoils. As he rode through the Velabrum 


on the day of his Gallic triumph, the axle of his chariot broke, 
and he was all but thrown out; and he mounted the Capitol 
by torchlight, with forty elephants bearing lamps on his right 
and his left. In his Pontic triumph he displayed among the 
show-pieces of the procession an inscription of but three words, 
"I came, I saw, I conquered," not indicating the events of the 
war, as the others did, but the speed with which it was finished. 

To each and every foot-soldier of his veteran legions he 
gave twenty-four thousand sesterces x by way of booty, over 
and above the two thousand 2 apiece which he had paid them 
at the beginning of the civil strife. He also assigned them 
lands, but not side by side, to avoid dispossessing any of the 
former owners. To every man of the people, besides ten pecks 
of grain and the same number of pounds of oil, he distributed 
the three hundred sesterces which he had promised at first, 
and one hundred apiece to boot because of the delay. 8 He also 
remitted a year's rent in Rome to tenants who paid two thou- 
sand sesterces 4 or less, and in Italy up to five hundred ses- 
terces. 6 He added a banquet and a dole of meat, and after his 
Spanish victory two dinners. For, deeming that the former of 
these had not been served with a liberality creditable to his 
generosity, he gave another five days later on a most lavish 

He gave entertainments of divers kinds: a combat of gladia- 
tors 6 and also stage-plays in every ward all over the city, per- 
formed too by actors of all languages, as well as races in the 
circus, athletic contests, and a sham sea-fight. In the gladia- 
torial contest in the Forum Furius Leptinus, a man of prae- 
torian stock, and Quintus Calpenus, a former Senator and 
pleader at the bar, fought to a finish. A Pyrrhic dance was 
performed by the sons of the princes of Asia and Bithynia. 
During the plays Decimus Laberius, a Roman Knight, acted 

1 $984.00. 

2 $82.00. 

8 $16.40 altogether. 

4 $82. oo. 

* $20.50. 

6 Gladiators were first publicly exhibited at Rome by two brothers 
called Bruti, at the funeral of their father, 263 B.C., and for some time 
were exhibited only on such occasions. They were prohibited by Con- 
stantine, but not entirely suppressed until the time of Honoriu?, 


a farce of his own composition, and having been presented 
with five hundred thousand sesterces and a gold ring, 1 passed 
from the stage through the orchestra and took his place in 
the fourteen rows. 2 For the races the circus was lengthened at 
either end and a broad canal was dug all about it; then young 
men of the highest rank drove four-horse and two-horse chari- 
ots and rode pairs of horses, vaulting from one to the other. 
The game called Troy was performed by two troops, of 
younger and older boys. Combats with wild beasts were pre- 
sented on five successive days, and last of all there was a 
battle between two opposing armies, in which five hundred 
foot-soldiers, twenty elephants, and thirty horsemen engaged 
on each side. To make room for this, the goals were taken 
down and in their place two camps were pitched over against 
each other. The athletic competition^ lasted for three days 
in a temporary stadium built for the purpose in the region of 
the Campus Martius. For the naval battle a pool was dug in 
the lesser Codeta and there was a contest of ships of two, 
three, and four banks of oars, belonging to the Tyrian and 
Egyptian fleets, manned by a large force of fighting men. Such 
a throng flocked to all these shows from every quarter, that 
many strangers had to lodge in tents pitched in the streets or 
along the roads, and the press was often such that many were 
crushed to death, including two Senators. 

Then turning his attention to the reorganization of the 
state, he reformed the calendar, which the negligence of the 
pontiffs had long since so disordered, through their privilege 
of adding months or days at pleasure, that the harvest fes- 
tivals did not come in summer nor those of the vintage in the 
autumn. And he adjusted the year to the sun's course by mak- 
ing it consist of three hundred and sixty-five days, abolishing 
the intercalary month, 8 and adding one day every fourth year. 

1 In token of his restoration to the rank of Knight, which he forfeited 
by appearing on the stage. 

2 The first fourteen rows above the orchestra were reserved for the 
Knights by a law of 67 B.C. 

3 The year had previously consisted of 355 days, and the deficiency 
of about ii days was made up by inserting an intercalary month of 22 
or 23 days after February. Caesar was assisted in this reform by Sosi- 
genes, an Egyptian philosopher. The Julian calendar was in use till 1582 
when Pope Gregory XIII further corrected it. 


Furthermore, that the correct reckoning of time might begin 
with the next Kalends of January, he inserted two other 
months between those of November and December. Hence the 
year in which these arrangements were made was one of fifteen 
months, including the intercalary month, which belonged to 
that year according to the former custom. 

He filled the vacancies in the Senate, enrolled additional 
patricians, and increased the number of Praetors, Aediles, and 
Quaestors, as well as of the minor officials. He reinstated those 
who had been degraded by official action of the Censors * or 
found guilty of bribery by verdict of the jurors. He shared the 
elections frith the people on this basis: that except in the case 
of the consulship, half of the magistrates should be appointed 
by the people's choice, while the rest should be those whom 
he had personally nominated. And these he announced in 
brief notes like the following, circulated in each tribe: "Caesar 
the Dictator to this or that tribe. I commend to you so and so, 
to hold their positions by your votes." He admitted to office 
even the sons of those who had been proscribed. He limited the 
right of serving as jurors to two classes, the equestrian and 
senatorial orders, disqualifying the third class, the Tribunes 
of the treasury. 

He made the enumeration of the people neither in the usual 
manner nor place, but from street to street aided by the own- 
ers of blocks of houses, and reduced the number of those who 
received grain at public expense from three hundred and 
twenty thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand. And to 
prevent the calling of additional meetings at any future time 
for purposes of enrollment, he provided that the places of such 
as died should be filled each year by the Praetors from those 
who were not on the list. 

Moreover, to keep up the population of the city, depleted 
as it was by the assignment of eighty thousand citizens to 
colonies 2 across the sea, he made a law that no citizen older 
than twenty or younger than forty, unless detained by service 
in the army, should be absent from Italy for more than three 

1 There were two Censors, usually patricians of high rank, elected 
originally every five years. 
* Principally Carthage and Corinth. 


successive years; that no Senator's son should go abroad ex- 
cept as the companion of a magistrate or on his staff; and that 
those who made a business of grazing should have among 
their herdsmen at least one-third who were men of free birth. 
He conferred citizenship on all who practiced medicine at 
Rome, and on all teachers of the liberal arts, to make them 
more desirous of living in the city and to induce others to re- 
sort to it. 

As to debts, he disappointed those who looked for their 
cancellation, which was often agitated, but finally decreed 
that the debtors should satisfy their creditors according to a 
valuation of their possessions at the price which they had paid 
for them before the civil war, deducting from the principal 
whatever interest had been paid in cash or pledged through 
bankers; an arrangement which wiped out about a fourth part 
of their indebtedness. He dissolved all guilds, except those of 
ancient foundation. He increased the penalties for crimes; 
and inasmuch as the rich involved themselves in guilt with 
less hesitation because they merely suffered exile, without any 
loss of property, lie punished murderers of freemen by the 
confiscation of all their goods, as Cicero writes, and others by 
the loss of one-half. 

He administered justice with the utmost conscientiousness 
and stnctness. Those convicted of extortion he even dismissed 
from the senatorial order. He annulled the marriage of an ex- 
praetor, who had married a woman the very day after her 
divorce, although there was no suspicion of adultery. He im- 
posed duties on foreign wares. He denied the use of litters 
and the wearing of scarlet robes or pearls to all except to 
those of a designated position and age, and on set days. In 
particular he enforced the law against extravagance, 1 setting 
watchmen in various parts of the market, to seize and bring 
to him dainties which were exposed for sale in violation of the 
law; and sometimes he sent his Lictors and soldiers to take 
from a dining-room any articles which had escaped the vigi- 
lance of his watchmen, even after they had been served. 

In particular, for the beautification and convenience of the 

1 There were many such laws. Their number grew with the growing 
extravagance of the Emperors. 


city, as well as for guarding and extending the bounds of the 
empire, he formed more projects and more extensive ones 
every day: first of all, to rear a temple to Mars, greater than 
any in existence, filling up and leveling the pool in which he 
had exhibited the sea-fight, and to build a theater of vast 
size, sloping down from the Tarpeian rock; to reduce the civil 
code to fixed limits, and of the vast and prolix mass of statutes 
to include only the best and most essential in a limited nunv 
ber of volumes; to open to the public the greatest possible li- 
braries of Greek and Latin books, assigning to Marcus Varro 
the charge of procuring and classifying them; to drain the 
Pomptine marshes; to let out the water from Lake Fucinus; to 
make a highway from the Adriatic across the summit of the 
Apennines as far as the Tiber; to cut a canal through the 
Isthmus; I to check the Dacians, who had poured into Pontus 
and Thrace; then to make war on the Parthians by way of 
Lesser Armenia, but not to risk a battle with them until he 
had first tested their mettle. 

All these enterprises and plans were cut short by his death. 
But before I speak of that, it will not be amiss to describe 
briefly his personal appearance, his dress, his mode of life, and 
his character, as well as his conduct in civil and military life. 

He is said to have been tall of stature, with a fair com- 
plexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black 
eyes; sound of health, except that towards the end he was 
subject to sudden fainting fits and to nightmare as well. He 
was twice attacked by the falling sickness 2 during his cam- 
paigns. He was somewhat overnice in the care of his person, 
not only keeping the hair of his head closely cut and his face 
smoothly shaved, but, as some have charged, even having 
superfluous hair plucked out. His baldness was a disfigurement 
which troubled him greatly, since he found that it was often 
the subject of the gibes of his detractors. Because of it he 
used to comb forward his scanty locks from the crown of his 
head, and of all the honors voted him by the Senate and peo- 
ple there was none which he received or made use of more 

1 The Isthmus of Corinth, lying between the Ionian and the Aegean 
seas. This work Demetrius had before attempted, as later, Caligula and 
Nero, without success. 

2 Epilepsy. Sometimes a seizure was feigned for political purposes. 


gladly than the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath at all 
times. They say, too, that he was fantastic in his dress; that 
he wore a Senator's tunic with fringed sleeves reaching to the 
wrist, and always had a girdle over it, though rather a loose 
one; and this, they say, was the occasion of Sulla's mot, when 
he often warned the nobles to keep an eye on the ill-girt boy. 1 

He lived at first in the Subura in a modest house, but after 
he became Chief Priest, in the official residence on the Sacred 
Way. Many have written that he was very fond of elegance 
and luxury; that having laid the foundations of a country- 
house on his estate at Nemi 2 and finished it at great cost, he 
tore it all down because it did not suit him in every particular, 
although at the time he was still poor and heavily in debt; 
and that he carried tesselated and mosaic doors about with 
him on his campaigns. 

They say that he was led to invade Britain by the hope of 
getting pearls, and that in comparing their size he sometimes 
weighed them with his own hand; that he was always a most 
enthusiastic collector of gems, carvings, statues, and pictures 
by early artists; also of slaves of exceptional figure and train- 
ing at enormous prices, of which he himself was so ashamed 
that he forbade their entry in his accounts. 

It is further reported that in the provinces he gave banquets 
constantly in two dining-halls, in one of which his officers or 
Greek companions, in the other Roman civilians and the more 
distinguished of the provincials reclined at table. He was so 
punctilious and strict in the management of his household, 
in small matters as well as in those of greater importance, 
that he put his baker in irons for serving him with one kind of 
bread and his guests with another; and he inflicted capital 
punishment on a favorite f reedman for adultery with the wife 
of a Roman Knight, although no complaint was made against 

There was no stain on his reputation for chastity except his 

1 His manner of dress undoubtedly impressed people as effeminate. 
Macrobius relates (Sat. II, 3, 10) that Cicero, questioned as to why he 
had been deceived in siding with Pompey rather than Caesar, seeing 
that Caesar was victorious, replied: "I was deceived by that loose 
girdling of his." 

a Sixteen miles from Rome 


intimacy with King Nicomedes, but that was a deep and last- 
ing reproach, which laid him open to insults from every quar- 
ter. I say nothing of the notorious lines of Licinius Calvus: 

"Whatever Bithynia had, and Caesar's paramour." 

I pass over, too, the invectives of Dolabella and the elder 
Curio, in which Dolabella calls him "the Queen's rival, the 
inner partner of the royal couch," and Curio, "the brothel of 
Nicomedes and the stew of Bithynia." I take no account of 
the edicts of Bibulus, in which he posted his colleague as "the 
Queen of Bithynia," saying that "of yore he was enamoured 
of a King, but now of a King's estate." At this same time, so 
Marcus Brutus declares, one Octavius, a man whose disor- 
dered mind made him somewhat free with his tongue, after 
saluting Pompey as "King" in a crowded assembly, greeted 
Caesar as "Queen." But Gaius Memmius makes the direct 
charge that he acted as cup-bearer to Nicomedes with the 
rest of his wantons at a large dinner-party, and that among 
the guests were some merchants from Rome, whose names 
Memmius gives. Cicero, indeed, is not content with having 
written in sundry letters that Caesar was led by the King's 
attendants to the royal apartments, that he lay on a golden 
couch arrayed in purple, and that the virginity of this scion 
of Venus was lost in Bithynia; but when Caesar was once 
addressing the Senate in defense of Nysa, daughter of Nic- 
omedes, and was recounting the King's kindness to him, 
Cicero cried: "No more of that, pray, for it is well known 
what he gave you, and what you gave him in turn." Finally, 
in his Gallic triumph his soldiers, among the bantering songs 
which are usually sung by those who follow the chariot, 
shouted these lines, which became a by-word: 

"Gaul to Caesar yielded, Caesar to Nicomedes. 
Lo! Caesar triumphs for his glorious deed, 
But Caesar's conqueror gains no victor's meed." 

It is admitted by all that he was much addicted to women, 
as well as very extravagant in his intrigues with them, and 
that he seduced many illustrious women, among them Pos- 


tumia, wife of Servius Sulpicius, Lollia, wife of Aulus Gabinius, 
Tertulla, wife of Marcus Crassus, and even Gnaeus Pompey's 
wife Mucia. At all events there is no doubt that Pompey 
was taken to task by the elder and the younger Curio, as well 
as by many others, because through a desire for power he 
had afterwards married the daughter of a man on whose ac- 
count he divorced a wife who had borne him three children, 
and whom he had often referred to with a groan as an Aegis- 
thus. 1 But beyond all others Caesar loved Servilia, the mother 
of Marcus Brutus, for whom in his first consulship he bought 
a pearl costing six million sesterces. 2 During the civil war, 
too, besides other presents, he knocked down some fine estates 
to her in a public auction at a nominal price, and when some 
expressed their surprise at the low figure, Cicero wittily re- 
marked: "To let you know the real value of the purchase, 
between ourselves, Tertia was deducted." 8 And in fact it was 
thought that Servilia was prostituting her own daughter Tertia 
to Caesar. 

That he did not refrain from intrigues with married women 
in the provinces is shown in particular by this distich, which 
was also shouted by the soldiers in his Gallic triumph: 

"Watch well your wives, O citizens 

A lecher bald we bring. 
In Gaul adultery cost thee gold, 
Here 'tis but borrowing." 4 

He had iove affairs with Queens, too, including Eunoe the 
Moor, wife of Bogudes, on whom, as well as on her husband, 
he bestowed many splendid presents, as Naso writes. But his 
greatest favorite was Cleopatra, with whom he often feasted 

1 That is, adulterer ; for Aegisthus, who, like Caesar, was a pontiff, 
committed adultery with Clytemnestra while Agamemnon was off at 
the Trojan war, as did Caesar with Mucia, when Pompey was absent 
in the war against Mithridates. 

2 $46,000. 

8 Double -entendre in the Latin tertia deduct a; Tertia signifying a 
third off (the value of the farm) as well as being the name of the girl for 
whose favors the reduction was made. 

4 Implying that as he borrowed of other men, so he lent as much in 
return, for, as was said, his own wife Pompeia was kept by P. Clodius. 


until daybreak, and he would have gone through Egypt with 
her in her state-barge almost to Aethiopia, had not his soldiers 
refused to follow him. Finally he called her to Rome and did 
not let her leave until he had laden her with high honors 
and rich gifts, and he allowed her to give his name to the child 
which she bore. In fact, according to certain Greek writers, 
this child was very like Caesar in looks and carriage. Mark 
Antony declared to the Senate that Caesar had really acknowl- 
edged the boy, and that Gaius Matius, Gaius Oppius, and 
other friends of Caesar knew this. Of these Gaius Oppius, as 
if admitting that the situation required apology and defense, 
published a book, to prove that the child whom Cleopatra 
fathered on Caesar was not his. Helvius Cinna, Tribune o< 
the Commons, admitted to several that he had a bill drawn 
up in due form, which Caesar had ordered him to propose tc 
the people in his absence, making it lawful for Caesar to 
marry what wives he wished, and as many as he wished, "for 
the purpose of begetting children." To leave no room for 
doubt of his evil reputation both for sodomy and adultery, 
Curio the elder, in one of his speeches, calls him "every 
woman's man and every man's woman." 

That he drank very little wine not even his enemies denied. 
There is a saying of Marcus Cato that Caesar was the only 
man who undertook to overthrow the state when sober. Even 
in the matter of food Gaius Oppius tells us that he was so 
indifferent, that once when his host served stale oil instead of 
fresh, and the other guests would have none of it, Caesar par- 
took even more plentifully than usual, that he might not seem 
to charge his host with carelessness or lack of manners. 

But his abstinence did not extend to pecuniary advantages, 
either when in command of armies or when in civil office. For 
we have the testimony of some writers that when he was Pro- 
consul in Spain, he not only begged money from the allies, to 
help pay his debts, but also attacked and sacked some towns 
of the Lusitanians, although they did not refuse his terms and 
opened their gates to him on his arrival. In Gaul he pillaged 
shrines and temples of the Gods filled with offerings, and 
oftener sacked towns for the sake of plunder than for any 
fault. In consequence he had more gold than he knew what to 
do with, and offered it for sale throughout Italy and the prov 


tumia, wife of Servius Sulpicius, Lollia, wife of Aulus Gabinius, 
Tertulla, wife of Marcus Crassus, and even Gnaeus Pompey's 
wife Mucia. At all events there is no doubt that Pompey 
was taken to task by the elder and the younger Curio, as well 
as by many others, because through a desire for power he 
had afterwards married the daughter of a man on whose ac- 
count he divorced a wife who had borne him three children, 
and whom he had often referred to with a groan as an Aegis- 
thus. 1 But beyond all others Caesar loved Servilia, the mother 
of Marcus Brutus, for whom in his first consulship he bought 
a pearl costing six million sesterces. 2 During the civil war, 
too, besides other presents, he knocked down some fine estates 
to her in a public auction at a nominal price, and when some 
expressed their surprise at the low figure, Cicero wittily re- 
marked: "To let you know the real value of the purchase, 
between ourselves, Tertia was deducted." 8 And in fact it was 
thought that Servilia was prostituting her own daughter Tertia 
to Caesar. 

That he did not refrain from intrigues with married women 
in the provinces is shown in particular by this distich, which 
was also shouted by the soldiers in his Gallic triumph: 

"Watch well your wives, O citizens 

A lecher bald we bring. 
In Gaul adultery cost thee gold. 
Here 'tis but borrowing." 4 

He had love affairs with Queens, too, including Eunoe the 
Moor, wife of Bogudes, on whom, as well as on her husband, 
he bestowed many splendid presents, as Naso writes. But his 
greatest favorite was Cleopatra, with whom he often feasted 

1 That is, adulterer ; for Aegisthus, who, like Caesar, was a pontiff, 
committed adultery with Clytemnestra while Agamemnon was off at 
the Trojan war, as did Caesar with Mucia, when Pompey was absent 
in the war against Mithridates. 

2 $446,000. 

8 Doublc-entendre in the Latin tertia dedttcta; Tertia signifying a 
third off (the value of the farm) as well as being the name of the girl for 
whose favors the reduction was made. 

4 Implying that as he borrowed of other men, so he lent as much in 
return, for, as was said, his own wife Pompeia was kept by P. Clodius. 


until daybreak, and he would have gone through Egypt with 
her in her state-barge almost to Aethiopia, had not his soldiers 
refused to follow him. Finally he called her to Rome and did 
not let her leave until he had laden her with high honors 
and rich gifts, and he allowed her to give his name to the child 
which she bore. In fact, according to certain Greek writers, 
this child was very like Caesar in looks and carriage. Mark 
Antony declared to the Senate that Caesar had really acknowl- 
edged the boy, and that Gaius Matius, Gaius Oppius, and 
other friends of Caesar knew this. Of these Gaius Oppius, as 
if admitting that the situation required apology and defense, 
published a book, to prove that the child whom Cleopatra 
fathered on Caesar was not his. Helvius Cinna, Tribune oJ 
the Commons, admitted to several that he had a bill drawn 
up in due form, which Caesar had ordered him to propose tc 
the people in his absence, making it lawful for Caesar to 
marry what wives he wished, and as many as he wished, "for 
the purpose of begetting children." To leave no room for 
doubt of his evil reputation both for sodomy and adultery, 
Curio the elder, in one of his speeches, calls him "every 
woman's man and every man's woman." 

That he drank very little wine not even his enemies denied. 
There is a saying of Marcus Cato that Caesar was the only 
man who undertook to overthrow the state when sober. Even 
in the matter of food Gaius Oppius tells us that he was so 
indifferent, that once when his host served stale oil instead of 
fresh, and the other guests would have none of it, Caesar par- 
took even more plentifully than usual, that he might not seem 
to charge his host with carelessness or lack of manners. 

But his abstinence did not extend to pecuniary advantages, 
either when in command of armies or when in civil office. For 
we have the testimony of some writers that when he was Pro- 
consul in Spain, he not only begged money from the allies, to 
help pay his debts, but also attacked and sacked some towns 
of the Lusitanians, although they did not refuse his terms and 
opened their gates to him on his arrival. In Gaul he pillaged 
shrines and temples of the Gods filled with offerings, and 
oftener sacked towns for the sake of plunder than for any 
fault. In consequence he had more gold than he knew what to 
do with, and offered it for sale throughout Italy and the prov* 


inces at the rate of three thousand sesterces the pound. 1 In 
his first consulship he stole three thousand pounds of gold 
from the Capitol, replacing it with the same weight of gilded 
bronze. He made alliances and thrones a matter of barter, for 
he extorted from Ptolemy alone in his own name and that of 
Pompey nearly six thousand talents, 2 while later on he met 
the heavy expenses of the civil wars and of his triumphs and 
entertainments by the most bare-faced pillage and sacrilege. 
In eloquence and in the art of war he either equaled or 
excelled the glory of the very best. After his prosecution of 
Dolabella, he was indisputably reckoned one of the most dis- 
tinguished advocates. Cicero, at all events, in reviewing the 
orators in his Brutus says that he does not see that Caesar 
was inferior to any one of them, maintaining that his style 
is elegant as well as brilliant, even grand and in a sense noble. 
Again in a letter to Cornelius Nepos he writes thus of Caesar: 
"Come now, what orator would you rank above him of those 
who have devoted themselves to nothing else? Who has more 
clever or more frequent epigrams? Who is more polished or 
more elegant in diction?" He appears, at least in his youth, to 
have imitated the manner of Caesar Strabo, from whose 
speech entitled "For the Sardinians" he actually transferred 
some passages word for word to a trial address 8 of his own. 
He is said to have delivered himself in a high-pitched voice 
with impassioned action and gestures, which were not with- 
out grace. He left several speeches, including some which are 
attributed to him on insufficient evidence. Augustus had good 
reason to think that the speech "For Quintus Metellus" was 
rather taken down by shorthand writers who could not keep 
pace with his delivery, than published by Caesar himself. 
For in some copies I find that even the title is not "For 
Metellus," but, "Which he wrote for Metellus," although the 
discourse purports to be from Caesar's lips, defending Metel- 
lus and himself against the charges of their common detrac- 
tors. Augustus also questions the authenticity of the address 
"To his Soldiers in Spain," although there are two versions 

1 Apparently about two-thirds less than the usual price. 

2 $6,792,000.00. 

8 That is, a speech in which he competed with other lawyers for the 
right to conduct a prosecution. 


of it: one purporting to have been spoken at the first battle, 
the other at the second, when Asinius Pollio writes that be* 
cause of the sudden onslaught of the enemy he actually did 
not have time to make an harangue. 

He left memoirs too of his deeds in the Gallic war and in 
the civil strife with Pompey; for the author of the Alexan- 
drian, African, and Spanish Wars is unknown; some think it 
was Oppius, others Hirtius, who also supplied the final book 
of the Gallic War, which Caesar left unwritten. With regard 
to Caesar's memoirs Cicero, also in the Brutus, speaks in the 
following terms: "He wrote memoirs which deserve the high- 
est praise; they are naked in their simplicity, straightforward 
yet graceful, stripped of all rhetorical adornment, as of a 
garment. While his purpose was to supply material to others, 
on which those who wished to write history might draw, he 
perhaps gratified silly folk, who will try to use the curling-irons 
on his narrative, yet he has kept men of any sense from touch- 
ing the subject." Of these same memoirs Hirtius uses this 
emphatic language: "They are so highly rated in the judg* 
ment of all men, that he seems to have deprived writers of 
an opportunity, rather than given them one. Yet our admira- 
tion for this feat is greater than that of others. For they 
know how well and faultlessly he wrote, while we know be- 
sides how easily and rapidly he finished his task." Asinius 
Pollio thinks that they were put together somewhat carelessly 
and without strict regard for truth; since in many cases 
Caesar was too ready to believe the accounts which others gave 
of their actions, and gave a perverted account of his own, 
either designedly or perhaps through defect of memory; and 
he thinks that he intended to revise and rewrite them. He left 
besides a work in two volumes "On Analogy," the same num- 
ber of "Speeches in Reply to Cato," in addition to a poem, 
entitled "The Journey." He wrote the first of these works 
while crossing the Alps and returning to his army from Hither 
Gaul, where he had held the assizes, the second about the 
time of the battle of Munda, and the third in the course of a 
twenty-four days' journey from Rome to Farther Spain. 
Some letters of his to the Senate are also preserved, and he 
seems to have been the first to reduce such documents to pages 
and the form of a memorial volume, whereas previously Con- 


suls and Generals sent their reports written right across the 
sheet. There are also letters of his to Cicero, as well as to his 
intimates on private affairs. In the latter, if he had anything 
confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so chang- 
ing the order of the letters of the alphabet, that not a word 
could be made out. If any one wishes to decipher these, and 
i get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of 
the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others. We 
also have mention of certain writings of his boyhood and 
early youth, such as the "Praises of Hercules," a tragedy 
"Oedipus," and a '"Collection of Apophthegms"; but Augus- 
tus forbade the publication of all these minor works in a very 
brief and frank letter sent to Pompeius Macer, whom he had 
selected to set his libraries in order. 

He was highly skilled in arms and horsemanship, and of 
incredible powers of endurance. On the march he headed his 
army, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, bare- 
headed both in the heat of the sun and in rain. He covered 
great distances with incredible speed, making a hundred miles 
a day in a hired carriage and with little baggage, swimming 
the rivers which barred his path or crossing them on inflated 
skins, and very often arriving before the messengers sent to 
announce his coming. 

In the conduct of his campaigns it is a question whether he 
was more cautious or more daring, for he never led his army 
where ambuscades were possible without carefully recon- 
noitering the country, and he did not cross to Britain without 
making personal inquiries about the harbors, the course, and 
the approach to the island. But on the other hand, when news 
came that his camp in Germany was besieged, he made his 
way to his men through the enemies' pickets, disguised as a 
GauL He crossed from Brundisium to Dyrrachium in winter 
time, running the blockade of the enemy's fleets; and when 
the troops which he had ordered to follow him delayed to do 
so, and he had sent to fetch them many times in vain, at last 
in secret and alone he boarded a small boat at night with his 
head muffled up; and he did not reveal who he was, or suffer 
the helmsman to give way to the gale blowing in their teeth, 
until he was all but overwhelmed by the waves. 

No regard for religion ever turned him from any undertak- 


ing, or even delayed him. Though the victim escaped as he 
was offering sacrifice, he did not put off his expedition against 
Scipio and Juba. Even when he had a fall as he disembarked, 
he gave the omen a favorable turn by crying: "I hold thee 
fast, Africa." Furthermore, to make the prophecies ridiculous 
which declared that the stock of the Scipios was fated to be 
fortunate and invincible in that province, he kept with him 
in camp a contemptible fellow belonging to the Cornelian 
family, to whom the nickname Salvito had been given as a 
reproach for his manner of life. 

He joined battle, not only after planning his movements 
in advance but on a sudden opportunity, often immediately 
at the end of a march, and sometimes in the foulest weather, 
when one would least expect him to make a move. It was not 
until his later years that he became slower to engage, through 
a conviction that the oftener he had been victor, the less he 
ought to tempt fate, and that he could not possibly gain as 
much by success as he might lose by a defeat. He never put 
his enemy to flight without also driving him from his camp, 
thus giving him no respite in his panic. When the issue was 
doubtful, he used to send away the horses, and his own among 
the first, to impose upon his troops the greater necessity of 
standing their ground by taking away that aid to flight. 

He rode a remarkable horse, too, with feet that were al- 
most human, for its hoofs were cloven in such a way as to 
look like toes. This horse was foaled on his own place, and 
since the soothsayers had declared that it foretold the rule of 
the world for its master, he reared it with the greatest care, 
and was the first to mount it, for it would endure no other 
rider. Afterwards, too, he dedicated a statue of it before the 
temple of Venus Genetrix. 

When his army gave way, he often rallied it single-handed, 
planting himself in the way of the fleeing men, laying hold of 
them one by one, even seizing them by the throat and turning 
them to face the enemy; that, too, when they were in such a 
panic that an eagle-bearer made a pass at him with the point * 

1 The principal standard of the Roman legion was a silver eagle with 
outspread wings and clutching a golden thunder bolt in its claw. It was 
mounted on a pole sharp at one end so that it could be set firmly in th* 
ground. In camp it stood in a little shrine. 


as he tried to stop him, while another left the standard fo 
Caesar's hand when he would hold him baclc. 

Hto presence of mind was no less Renowned and the in- 
stances of it will appear even more striking. After the battle of 
Pharsalus, when he had sent on his troops and was crossing 
the strait of the Hellespont in a small passenger boat, he met 
Lucius Cassius, of the hostile party, with ten armored ships, 
and made no attempt to escape, but went to meet Cassius and 
actually exhorted him to surrender. Cassius sued for mercy 
and was taken on board. 

At Alexandria, while assaulting a bridge, he was forced by 
a sudden sally of the enemy to take to a small skiff. When 
many others threw themselves into the same boat, he plunged 
into the sea, and after swimming for two hundred paces, got 
away to the nearest ship, holding up his left nand all the way, 
so as not to wet some paper* *vhlch he was carrying, and drag- 
ging his cloak after him vnth his teeth, to keep the enemy from 
getting t as a frophy. 

He valued his soldiers neither for their personal character 
nor their fortune, but solely for their prowess, and he treated 
them with equal strictness and indulgence. For he did not 
curb them everywhere and at all times, but only in the pres- 
ence of the enemy. Then he required the strictest discipline, 
not announcing the time of a march or a battle, but keeping 
them ready and alert to be led on a sudden at any moment 
wheresoever he might wish. He often called them out even 
when there was no occasion for it, especially on rainy days 
and holidays. Sometimes, giving them orders not to lose sight 
of him, he would steal away suddenly by day or night and 
make a longer march than usual, to tire out those who were 
tardy in following. 

When they were in a panic through reports about the ene- 
my's numbers, he used to rouse their courage not by denying 
or discounting the rumors, but by falsely exaggerating the 
true danger. For instance, when the anticipation of Juba's 
coming filled them with terror, he called the soldiers together 
and said: "Let me tell you that within the next few days the 
king will be here with ten legions, thirty thousand horsemen, 
a hundred thousand light-armed troops, and three hundred 


elephants. Let none of you, therefore, presume m make fur 
ther inquiry or to indulge in conjectures, but take my won* 
for what I tell you, which I have on good information. Other- 
wise, I shall surely have them shipped on some worn out 
craft and carried off to whatever lands the wind may blow 

He did not take notice of all their offenses or punish them 
by rule, but he kept a sharp lookout for deserters and mu- 
tineers, and chastised them most severely, shutting his eyes 
to other faults. Sometimes, too, after a great victory he re- 
lieved them of all duties and gave them full license to revel, 
being in the habit of boasting that his soldiers could fight well 
even when reeking of perfumes. In the assembly he addressed 
them not as "soldiers," but by the more flattering term "com- 
rades," and he kept them in fine trim, furnishing them with 
arms inlaid with silver and gold, both for show and to make 
them hold the faster to them in battle, through fear of the 
greatness of the loss. Such was his love for them that when he 
heard of the disaster to Titurius, 1 he let his hair and beard 
grow long, and would not cut them until he had taken venge- 
ance. In this way he made them most devoted to his in- 
terests as well as most valiant. 

When he began the civil war, 2 every Centurion 3 of each 
legion proposed to supply a horseman from his own allowance, 
and the soldiers one and all offered their service without pay 
and without rations, the richer assuming the care of the 
poorer. Throughout the long struggle not one deserted and 
many of them, on being taken prisoner, refused to accept their 
lives, when offered them on the condition of consenting to 
serve against Caesar. They bore hunger and other hardships, 
both when in a state of siege and when besieging others, with 
such fortitude, that when Pompey saw in the works at Dyr- 
rachium a kind of bread made of herbs, on which they were 
living, he said that he was fighting wild beasts, and gave or- 

1 54 B.C. The legions under Titurius Sabinus and L. Cotta while 
wintering in the territory of the Eburones. in Gaul, were attacked and 
cut to pieces by Ambiorix, their chief. 

2 The war against Pompey. 

* Captain of a hundred men; appointed by the commande^in-duef ; 
next in rank to the Military Tribunes. 


ders that it be put out of sight quickly and shown to none of 
bis men for fear that the endurance and resolution of the foe 
would break their spirit. 

How valiantly they fought is shown by the fact that when 
they suffered their sole defeat before Dyrrachium, they in- 
sisted on being punished, and their commander felt called 
upon rather to console than to chastise them. In the other 
battles they overcame with ease countless forces of the enemy, 
though decidedly fewer in number themselves. Indeed one 
cohort l of the sixth legion, when set to defend a redoubt, 
kept four legions of Pompey at bay for several hours, though 
almost all were wounded by the enemy's showers of arrows, 
of which a hundred and thirty thousand were picked up 
within the ramparts. And no wonder, when one thinks of the 
deeds of individual soldiers, either of Cassius Scaeva the Cen- 
turion, or of Gaius Acilius of the rank and file, not to mention 
others. Scaeva, with one eye gone, his thigh and shoulder 
wounded, and his shield bored through in a hundred and 
twenty places, continued to guard the gate of a fortress put 
in his charge. Acilius in the sea-fight at Massilia grasped the 
stern of one of the enemy's ships, and when his right hand 
was lopped off, rivaling the famous exploit of the Greek hero 
Cynegirus, 2 boarded the ship and drove the enemy before him 
with the boss of his shield. 

They did not mutiny once during the ten years of the 
Gallic war; in the civil wars they did so now and then, but 
quickly resumed their duty, not so much owing to any indul- 
gence of their General as to his authority. For he never gave 
way to them when they were insubordinate, but always boldly 
faced them, discharging the entire ninth legion in disgrace 
before Placentia, though Pompey was still in the field, rein- 
stating them unwillingly and only after many abject en- 
treaties, and insisting on punishing the ringleaders. 

Again at Rome, when the men of the tenth legion clamored 
for their discharge and rewards with terrible threats and no 
little peril to the city, though the war in Africa was then rag- 
ing, he did not hesitate to appear before them, against the ad- 

i A tenth part of a legion, about 400 men. 
* At the battle of Marathon. 


<fice of his friends, and to disband them. But with a single 
word, calling them "citizens," 1 instead of "soldiers," he 
easily brought them round and bent them to his will. For they 
at once replied that they were his "soldiers" and insisted on 
following him to Africa, although he refused their service. 
Even then he punished the most insubordinate by the loss of a 
third part of the booty and of the land intended for them. 

Even when a young man he showed no lack of devotion 
and fidelity to his dependents. He defended the cause of a 
noble youth, Masintha, against King Hiempsal with such 
spirit, that in the dispute he caught the King's son Juba by 
the beard. 2 On Masintha 's being declared subject to the King, 
he at once rescued him from those who were carrying him off, 
and kept him hidden for some time in his own house. When 
presently he left for Spain after his praetorship, he carrie*-! 
the young man off in his own litter, unnoticed amid the crovid 
that came to see him off and the Lictors with their fasces. 

His friends he treated with invariable kindness and con- 
sideration. When Gaius Oppius was his companion on a jour- 
ney through a wild, woody country and was suddenly taken 
ill, Caesar gave up to him the only shelter there was, while 
he himself slept on the ground out-of-doors. Moreover, when 
he came to power, he advanced some of his friends to the 
highest positions, even though they were of the humblest 
origin, and when taken to task for it, flatly declared that if he 
had been helped in defending his honor by brigands and cut- 
throats, he would have requited even such men in the same 

On the other hand he never formed such bitter enmities 
that he was not glad to lay them aside when opportunity of- 
fered. Although Gaius Memmius had made highly caustic 
speeches against him, to which he had replied with equal bit- 
terness, he went so far as to support Memmius afterwards in 
his suit for the consulship. When Gaius Calvus, after some 
scurrilous epigram* took steps through his friends towards a 
reconciliation, Caesar wrote to him first and of his own free 

1 As though freed from the allegiance to which they were bound by 
the military oath. 

* A great insult to barbarians, who set great store by their beard* 
which they wore long. 


will. Valerius Catullus, as Caesar himself did not hesitate to 
say, inflicted a lasting stain on his name by the verses about 
Mamurra. Yet when he apologized, Caesar invited the poet to 
dinner that very same day, and continued his usual friendly 
relations with Catullus's father. 

Even in avenging wrongs he was by nature most merciful. 
When he got hold of the pirates who had captured him, hav- 
ing sworn that he would crucify them, he did so indeed, but 
ordered that their throats be cut first. He could never make 
up his mind to harm Cornelius Phagites, although when he 
was sick and in hiding, the man had waylaid him night after 
night, and even a bribe had barely saved him from being 
handed over to Sulla. 1 The slave Philemon, his amanuensis, 
who had promised Caesar's enemies that he would poison him, 
he merely punished by death, without torture. When sum- 
moned as a witness against Publius Clodius, the paramour of 
his wife Pompeia, who was being prosecuted for desecration 
of sacred rights, 2 Caesar declared that he had no evidence, al- 
though both his mother Aurelia and his sister Julia had given 
the same jurors a faithful account of the whole affair. When 
he was then asked why after all he had divorced Pompeia, he 
replied: "Because I maintain that the members of my family 
should be free not only from guilt, but from even the sus- 
picion of guilt." 

He certainly showed admirable self-restraint and mercy, 
both in his conduct of the civil war and in the hour of victory. 
While Pompey threatened to treat as enemies those who did 
not take up arms for the government, Caesar gave out that 
those who were neutral and of neither party should be num- 
bered with his friends. He freely allowed all those whom he 
had made Centurions on Pompey's recommendation to go 
over to his rival. When conditions of surrender were under 
discussion at Ilerda, and friendly intercourse between the two 
parties was constant, Afranius and Petreius, with a sudden 
change of purpose, put to death all of Caesar's soldiers whom 
Ihey found in their camp, but Caesar could not bring himself 

1 Phagites, a freedman of Sulla, and one of those delegated to appre- 
hend Caesar when he was under the disfavor of Sulla. Plutarch, in his 
Life of Caesar, says the amount of this bribe was $2,264.00. 

2 Those of Bona Dea. 


to retaliate in kind. At the battle of Pharsalus he cried out, 
"Spare your fellow citizens," and afterwards allowed each ol 
his men to save any one man he pleased of the opposite party, 
None on Pompey's side, so far as appears, lost their lives but 
in battle, save only Afranius and Faustus, and the young 
Lucius Caesar. And it is believed that not even these men 
were slain by his wish, even though the two former had taken 
up arms again after being pardoned, and the latter had not 
only cruelly put to death the Dictator's slaves and freedmen 
with fire and sword, but had even butchered the wild beasts 
which he had procured for the entertainment of the people. At 
last, in his later years, he went so far as to allow all those 
whom he had not yet pardoned to return to Italy, and to hold 
offices both civil and military; and he actually set up the 
statues of Lucius Sulla and Pompey, which had been broken 
to pieces by the populace. After this, if any dangerous plots 
were formed against him, or slanders uttered, he chose rather 
to check than to punish them. Accordingly, he took no fur- 
ther notice of the conspiracies which were detected, and of 
meetings by night, than to make known by proclamation that 
he was aware of them. To those who spoke ill of him he 
thought it enough to give public warning not to persist in 
their offense, bearing with good nature the attacks on his 
reputation made by the scurrilous volume of Aulus Caecina 
and the abusive lampoons of Pitholaus. 

Yet after all, his other actions and words so far outweigh 
all his good qualities that it is thought he abused his power 
and was justly slain. For not only did he accept excessive 
honors, such as an uninterrupted consulship, the dictatorship 
for life, and the censorship of public morals, as well as the 
forename Imperator, 1 the surname of Father of his Country, 
a statue among those of the Kings, 2 and a raised couch in the 
orchestra of the theater. He also allowed honors to be bestowed 

1 The title Imperator, synonymous with conqueror, was that by 
which troops would hail a victorious commander. It first assumed a 
permanent and royal character through Caesar's use of it as a pre- 

2 Statues of each of the seven Kings of Rome were in the Capitol, to 
which an eighth was added in honor of Brutus, who expelled the last. 
The statue of Julius was afterwards raised near them. 


on him which were too great for mortal man: a golden throne 
in the House and on the judgment seat; a chariot and litter * 
In the procession at the circus; temples, altars, and statues be- 
side those of the Gods; a special priest, an additional college 
of the Luperci, and the calling of one of the months by his 
name. In fact, there were no honors which he did not receive 
or confer at pleasure. 

He held his third and fourth consulships in name only, 
content with the power of the dictatorship conferred on him 
at the same time as the consulships. Moreover, in both years 
he substituted two Consuls for himself for the last three 
months, in the meantime holding no elections except for 
Tribunes and plebeian Aediles, and appointing Praefects in- 
stead of the Praetors, to manage the affairs of the city during 
his absence. When one of the Consuls suddenly died the day 
before the Kalends of January, he gave the vacant office for 
a few hours to a man who asked for it. With the same dis- 
regard of law and precedent he named magistrates for several 
years to come, bestowed the emblems of consular rank on ten 
ex-Praetors, and admitted to the House men who had been 
given citizenship, and in some cases even half-civilized Gauls. 
He assigned the charge of the mint and of the public revenues 
to his own slaves, and gave the oversight and command of the 
three legions which he had left at Alexandria to a favorite 
boy of his called Rufio, son of one of his freedmen. 

No less arrogant were his public utterances, which Titus 
Ampius 2 records: that the Republic was a name only, with- 
out substance or reality; that Sulla did not know his A. B. C. 
when he laid down his dictatorship; that men ought now to be 
more circumspect in addressing him, and to regard his word 
as law. So far did he go in his presumption, that when a sooth- 
sayer once announced to him the direful omen that a victim 
offered for sacrifice was without a heart, he said: "The 
entrails will be more favorable when I please. It ought not to 
be taken as a miracle if a beast have no heart." 

But it was the following action in particular that roused 
deadly hatred against him. When the Senate approached him 

1 For carrying an image of him among those of the Gods. 

2 Titus Ampius Balbus, the friend of Cicero and one of the sup- 
porters of Pompey whom Caesar pardoned after the civil war. 


in a body with many highly honorary decrees, he received 
them before the temple of Venus Genetrix without rising. 
Some think that when he attempted to get up, he was held 
back by Cornelius Balbus; others, that he made no such 
move at all, but on the contrary frowned angrily on Gaius 
Trebatius when he suggested that he should rise. This action 
of his seemed the more intolerable, because when he himself 
in one of his triumphal processions rode past the benches of 
the Tribunes, he was so incensed because one of their number, 
Pontius Aquila by name, did not rise, that he cried: "Come 
then, Aquila, mighty Tribune, and take from me the Repub* 
lie," and for several days afterwards, he would promise a 
favor to no one without adding, "That is, if Pontius Aquila 
will give me leave." 

To an insult which so plainly showed his contempt for the 
Senate he added an act of even greater insolence. After the 
sacred rites of the Latin Festival, as he was returning to the 
city, amid the extravagant and unprecedented demonstrations 
of the populace, some one in the press placed on his statue 
a laurel wreath with a white fillet * tied to it. When Epidius 
Marullus and Caesetius Flavus, Tribunes of the Commons, 
gave orders that the ribbon be removed from the crown and 
the man taken off to prison, Caesar sharply rebuked and de- 
posed them, either offended that the hint at regal power had 
been received with so little favor, or, as was said, that he had 
been robbed of the glory of refusing it. But from that time on 
he could not rid himself of the odium of having aspired to 
the title of monarch, although he replied to the Commons, 
when they hailed him as King, "I am Caesar and not King." 
At the Lupercalia, 2 when the Consul Antony several times 
attempted to place a crown upon his head as he spoke from 
the rostra, he put it aside and at last sent it to the Capitol, 
to be offered to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Nay, more, the 

1 Emblematic of royalty. 

2 An orgiastic festival in February in honor of the Lycaen Pan, 
identified by the Romans with Faunus. During the solemnity, the 
Luperci, priests of that god, ran naked in the streets, striking those they 
met with goat-skin thongs, particularly married women, who wer* 
thereby supposed to be rendered fecund. 

* THE 1/VS 01 : THE TWELVE t 

report had spread in various quarters that h? intend'xl to 
move to Ilium * or Alexandria, taking with him the resource 
of the state, draining Italy by levies, and leaving it and the 
charge of the city to his friends; also that at the next meeting 
of the Senate Lucius Cotta would announce as the decision 
of the Fifteen, 2 that inasmuch as it was written in the books 
of fate that the Parthians could be conquered only by a King, 
Caesar should be given that title. 

In order to avoid giving assent to this proposal the con- 
spirators hastened the execution of their designs. Therefore 
the plots which had previously been formed separately, often 
by groups of two or three, were united in a general conspiracy, 
since even the populace no longer were pleased with present 
conditions, but both secretly and openly rebelled at his 
tyranny and cried out for defenders of their liberty. On the 
admission of foreigners to the Senate, a placard was posted: 
"God bless the Commonwealth! Let no one consent to point 
out the House to a newly made Senator." The following verses 
too were repeated everywhere: 

"The Gauls he dragged in triumph through the town 
Caesar has brought into the Senate house 
And changed their breeches for the purple gown." 

When Quintus Maximus, whom he had appointed Consul in 
his place for three months, was entering the theater, and his 
Lictor in the usual manner called attention to his arrival, 
a general shout was raised: "He's no Consul!" After the 
removal of Caesetius and Marullus from office as Tribunes, 
they were bound to have not a few votes at the next elections 
of Consuls. Some wrote on the base of Lucius Brutus's statue, 
"Oh, that you were still alive"; and on that of Caesar him* 

"Because he drove from Rome the royal race 
Brutus was first made Consul in their place. 
This man, because he put the Consuls down, 
Has been rewarded with a royal crown." 

A A city where Troy stood. 

* The college of fifteen priests who inspected and expounded the 
Sybilline books. 


More than sixty joined the conspiracy against him, led by 
Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus. At first they 
hesitated whether to form two divisions at the elections in the 
Campus Martius, so that while some hurled him from the 
bridge * as he summoned the tribes to vote, the rest might 
wait below and slay him; or to set upon him in the Sacred 
Way or at the entrance to the theater. When, however, a 
meeting of the Senate was called for the Ides 2 of March in 
the Hall of Pompey, they readily gave that time and place 
the preference. 

Now Caesar's approaching murder was foretold to him by 
unmistakable signs. A few months before, when the settlers 
assigned to the colony at Capua by the Julian Law were de- 
molishing some tombs of great antiquity, to build country 
houses, and plied their work with the greater vigor because 
as they rummaged about they found a quantity of vases of 
ancient workmanship, there was discovered in a tomb, which 
was said to be that of Capys, the founder of Capua, a bronze 
tablet, inscribed with Greek words and characters to this 
effect: "Whenever the bones of Capys shall be discovered, 
it will come to pass that a descendant of his shall be slain at 
the hands of his kindred, and presently avenged at heavy cost 
to Italy." And let no one think this tale a myth or a lie, for 
it is vouched for by Cornelius Balbus, an intimate friend of 
Caesar. Shortly before his death, as he was told, the herds of 
horses which he had dedicated to the river Rubicon when he 
crossed it, and had let loose without a keeper, stubbornly re- 
fused to graze and wept copiously. Again, when he was offer- 
ing sacrifice, the soothsayer Spurinna warned him to beware 
of danger, which would come not later than the Ides of 
March. On the day before the Ides of that month a little 
bird called the king-bird flew into the Hall of Pompey with 
a sprig of laurel, pursued by others of various kinds from the 
grove hard by, which tore it to pieces in the hall. In fact the 
very night before his murder he dreamt now that he was 
flying above the clouds, and now that he was clasping the 

1 A temporary bridge of planks over which the voters passed one 
by one to cast their ballots. 

* The 1 5th of March, May, July, and October; the ijth of every 
other month. 


hand of Jupiter; and his wife Calpurnia thought that the 
pediment of their house fell, and that her husband was stabbed 
in her arms; and on a sudden the door of the room flew open 
of its own accord. 

Both for these reasons and because of poor health he hesi- 
tated for a long time whether to stay at home and put off 
what he had planned to do in the Senate. But at last, urged 
by Decimus Brutus not to disappoint the full meeting, which 
had for some time been waiting for him, he went forth almost 
at the end of the fifth hour. 1 When a note revealing the plot 
was handed him by some one on the way, he put it with others 
which he held in his left hand, intending to read them pres- 
ently. Then, after many victims had been slain, and he could 
not get favorable omens, he entered the House in defiance of 
portents, laughing at Spurinna and calling him a false 
prophet, because the Ides of March were come without bring- 
ing him harm. Spurinna replied that they had of a truth 
come, but they had not gone. 

As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered about him 
as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, 
who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask 
something. When Caesar with a gesture put him off to another 
time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders. As Caesar 
cried, "Why, this is violence!" one of the Cascas stabbed 
him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca's 
arm and ran it through with his stylus, 2 but as he tried to leap 
to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When he saw 
that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled 
his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap 8 
to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, 
with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise 
he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not 
a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some 
have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he 

1 Eleven in the morning. 

2 Used for writing on wax tablets. The Romans also wrote on 
parchment with pens of sharpened reed split at the point. For ink they 
used the black liquid emitted by the cuttle fish. 

8 The part worn over the shoulder or tucked up slack above the 


said in Greek, "You too, my child?" All the conspirators made 
off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, until finally three 
common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with 
one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none, in the 
opinion of the physician Antistius, would have proved mortal 
except the second one in the breast. 

The conspirators had intended after slaying him to drag 
his body to the Tiber, confiscate his property, and revoke his 
decrees. But they forebore through fear of Marcus Antonius, 
the Consul, and Lepidus, the master of horse. 

At the request of his father-in-law, Lucius Piso, his will 
was opened and read in Antony's house. He had made it on 
the Ides of the preceding September at his villa near Lavicum, 
and committed it to the care of the chief Vestal Virgin. Quin- 
tus Tubero states that from his first consulship until the be- 
ginning of the civil war it was his wont to write down Gnaeus 
Pompeius as his heir, and to read this to the assembled 
soldiers. In his last will, however, he named three heirs, the 
grandsons of his sisters, namely: Gaius Octavius, 1 to three- 
fourths of his estate, and Lucius Pinarius and Quintus Pedius 
to share the remainder. At the end of the will, too, he adopted 
Gaius Octavius into his family and gave him his name. Sev- 
eral of his assassins were named among the guardians of his 
son, in case one should be born to him, and Decimus Brutus 
even among his heirs in the second degree. 2 To the people he 
left his gardens near the Tiber for their common use and 
three hundred sesterces to each man. 3 

When the funeral was announced, a pyre was erected in the 
Campus Martius near the tomb of Julia. On the rostra was 
placed a gilded shrine, made after the model of the temple 
of Venus Genetrix. Within was a bier of ivory with coverlets of 
purple and gold, and at its head a pillar hung with the robe in 
which he was slain. Since it was clear that the day would not 
be long enough for those who offered gifts, they were directed 

1 Who became Augustus. 

2 To Inherit a share of his estate in the event of the death of the 
heirs in the first degree or their refusal to accept the inheritance. It was 
often no more than a final courtesy. 

* $12.30. 


to bring them to the Campus by whatsoever streets of the 
city they wished, regardless of any order of precedence. 1 At 
the funeral games, to rouse pity and indignation at his death, 
these words from the "Contest for the Arms" of Pacuviua 
were sung: 

"Saved I these men that they might murder me?" 

and words of a like purport from the "Electra" of Atilius. 
Instead of a eulogy the Consul Antonius caused a herald to 
recite the decree of the Senate in which it had voted Caesar 
all divine and human honors at once, and likewise the oath 
with which they had all pledged themselves to watch over his 
personal safety; to which he added a very few words of his 
own. The bier on the rostra was carried to the Forum by 
magistrates and ex-magistrates. While some were urging that 
it be burned in the temple of Jupiter of the Capitol, and others 
in the Hall of Pompey, on a sudden two beings with swords 
by their sides and brandishing a pair of darts set fire to it 
with blazing torches, and at once the throng of bystanders 
heaped upon it dry branches, the judgment sets with the 
benches, and whatever else could serve as an offering. Then 
the musicians and actors tore off their robes, which they had 
taken from the equipment of his triumphs and put on for 
the occasion, rent them to bits and threw them into the flames, 
and the veterans of the legions the arms with which they had 
adorned themselves for the funeral. Many of the women, too, 
offered up the jewels which they wore and the amulets and 
robes of their children. 

At the height of the public grief a throng of foreigners went 
about lamenting each after the fashion of his country, above 
all the Jews, 2 who even flocked to the place for several suc- 
cessive nights. 

The populace, with torches in their hands, ran from the 

1 The usual order on such occasions was: Magistrates and Senators 
without their badges and robes of dignity ; Knights in mourning ; sol- 
diers carrying the points of their weapons downwards ; commons, mar- 
shaled according to tribe. 

2 Caesar was beloved by the Jews, not only because he had over- 
thrown Pompey, who had violated their &oly of Holies, but because of 
many acts of kindness besides- 


funeral to the houses of Brutus and Cassius and after being 
repelled with difficulty, they slew Helvius Cinna when they 
met him, through a mistake in the name, supposing that he 
was Cornelius Cinna, who had the day before made a bitter 
indictment of Caesar and for whom they were looking; and 
they set his head upon a spear and paraded it about the 
streets. Afterwards they set up in the Forum a solid column 
of Numidian marble almost twenty feet high, and inscribed 
upon it, "To the Father of his Country." At the foot of this 
they continued for a long time to sacrifice, make vows, and 
settle some of their disputes by an oath in the name of Caesar. 

Caesar left in the minds of some of his friends the suspicion 
that he did not wish to live any longer and had taken no 
precautions, because of his failing health; and that therefore 
he neglected the warnings which came to him from portents 
and from the reports of his friends. Some think that it was 
because he had full trust in that last decree of the Senators 
and their oath that he dismissed even the armed bodyguard 
of Spanish soldiers that formerly attended him. Others, on 
the contrary, believe that he elected to expose himself once 
for all to the plots that threatened him on every hand, rather 
than to be always anxious and on his guard. Some, too, say 
that he was wont to declare that it was not so much to his 
own interest as to that of his country that he remain alive. 
He had long since had his fill of power and glory. But if aught 
befell him, the commonwealth would have no peace, and, in- 
volved in another civil war, would be in a worse state than 

About one thing almost all are fully agreed, that his death 
was in many respects such as he would have chosen. For once 
when he read in Xenophon how Cyrus in his last illness gave 
directions for his funeral, he expressed his horror of such a 
lingering kind of end and his wish for one which was swift 
and sudden. And the day before his murder, in a conversation 
which arose at a dinner at the house of Marcus Lepidus, as to 
what manner of death was most to be desired, he had given 
his preference to one which was sudden and unexpected. 

He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was num- 
bered among the Gods, not only by a formal decree, but also 
in the conviction of the vulgar. For at the first of the games 


which his heir Augustus gave in honor of his apotheosis, a 
comet shone for seven successive days, rising about the 
eleventh hour, 1 and was believed to be the soul of Caesar, who 
had been taken to heaven. This is why a star is set upon the 
crown of his head in his statue. 

It was voted that the hall in which he was slain be walled 
up, that the Ides of March be called the Day of Parricide, 
and that a meeting of the Senate should never be called on 
that day. 

Hardly any of his assassins survived him for more than 
three years, or died a natural death. They were all condemned, 
and they perished in various ways some by shipwreck, some 
in battle; and some took their own lives with the self-same 
dagger with which they had impiously slain Caesar. 

1 About an hour before sunset 




THERE are many indications that the Octavian family was 
from early days a distinguished one at Velitrae. 1 For in the 
most frequented part of the town there was not only a street 
long called Octavian, but an altar consecrated by an Octavius 
was also to be seen there. This man, leader in a war with a 
neighboring people, happening once to be sacrificing to Mars 
when a messenger brought news of an unexpected attack, 
snatched the entrails of the victim off the fire, offered them 
up half raw, marched off to battle, and returned victorious. 
There was, besides, a decree of the people on record, provid- 
ing that for all future time the entrails should be offered to 
Mars in the same manner, and the rest of the victim be 
handed over to the OctaviL 

This family was admitted to the Senate by King Tarquinius 
Priscus among the lesser clans; 2 was later enrolled by Servius 
Tullius among the patricians; in course of time returned to 
the ranks of the plebeians; and after a long interval was re-* 
stored to patrician rank by the Deified Julius. The first of the 
house to be elected by the people to a magistracy was Gaius 
Rufus, who became Quaestor. He begot Gnaeus and Gaius, 
from whom the two branches of the Octavian family were 
descended, which have had very different fortunes. For 
Gnaeus and all his scions in turn held the highest offices, but 
Gaius and his progeny, whether from chance or choice, re- 
mained in the equestrian order down to the father of Augustus. 

Augustus's great-grandfather served in Sicily in the second 
Punic war 8 as Tribune of the Soldiers under the command of 
Aemilius Papus. His grandfather, content with the offices of 

1 An ancient Volscian town, now Velctri on the road to Naples. 

2 A term applied to the plebeian families in the Senate enrolled in 
addition to the patricians. 

* Against Hannibal and the Carthaginians. 



a municipal town and possessing an abundant income, lived to 
a peaceful old age. This is the account given by others. 
Augustus himself merely writes l that he came of an old and 
wealthy equestrian family, in which his own father was the 
first to become a Senator. Marcus Antonius taunts him with 
his great-grandfather, saying that he was a freedman and a 
rope-maker from the country about Thurii, while his grand- 
father was a money-changer. This is all that I have been 
able to learn about the paternal ancestors of Augustus. 

His father, Gaius Octavius, was from the beginning of his 
life a man of wealth and repute, and I cannot but wonder 
that some have said that he too was a money-changer, and 
was even employed to distribute bribes at the elections and 
perform other services in the Campus. For, as a matter of fact, 
having been brought up in affluence, he readily attained to 
high positions and filled them with distinction. Macedonia fell 
to his lot at the end of his praetorship. On his way to the 
province, executing a special commission from the Senate, 
he wiped out a band of runaway slaves, refugees from the 
armies of Spa^tacus and Catiline, who held possession of the 
country about Thurii. In governing his province he showed 
equal justice and courage. Besides routing the Bessi and the 
other Thracians in a great battle, his treatment of our allies 
was such, that Marcus Cicero, in letters which are still in 
existence, urges and admonishes his brother Quintus, who at 
the time was serving as Proconsular Governor 2 of Asia with 
no great credit to himself, to imitate his neighbor Octavius 
in winning the favor of our allies. 

While returning from Macedonia, before he could declare 
himself a candidate for the consulship, he died suddenly, sur- 
vived by three children, an elder Octavia by Ancharia, and 
by Atia a younger Octavia and Augustus. Atia was the daugh- 
ter of Marcus Atius Balbus and Julia, sister of Gaius Caesar. 
Balbus, a native of Aricia on his father's side, and of a family 
displaying many senatorial portraits, 8 was closely connected 

1 In his Memoirs. 

2 Quintus Cicero was really Propraetor, i.e. he had been Praetor and 
not Consul before he had been sent out as Governor of Asia. 

These were waxen masks of ancestors of senatorial rank, kept in 
the hall of the homes of their descendants. 


on his mother's side with Pompey the Great. After holding 
the office of Praetor, he was one of the commission of twenty 
appointed by the Julian law to distribute lands in Campania 
to the Commons. But Antonius * again, trying to disparage 
the maternal ancestors of Augustus as well, twits him with 
having a great-grandfather of African birth, who kept first a 
perfumery shop and then a bakery at Aricia. Cassius of Parma 
also taunts Augustus with being the grandson both of a baker 
and of a money-changer, saying in one of his letters: "Your 
mother's meal came from a vulgar bakeshop of Aricia; this 
a money-changer from Nerulum kneaded into shape with 
hands stained with filthy -lucre." 

Augustus was born just before sunrise on the ninth day 
before the Kalends of October in the consulship of Marcus 
Tullius Cicero and Gaius Antonius, at the Ox-Heads in the 
Palatine quarter, where he now has a shrine, built shortly after 
his death. For it is recorded in the proceedings of the Senate, 
that when Gaius Laetorius, a young man of patrician family, 
was pleading for a milder punishment for adultery because 
of his youth and position, he further urged upon the Senators 
that he was the possessor and as it were the warden of the 
spot which the Deified Augustus first touched at his birth, 
and begged that he be pardoned for the sake of what might 
be called his own special God. Whereupon it was decreed that 
that part of his house should be consecrated. 

A small room like a pantry is shown to this day as the 
Emperor's nursery in his grandfather's country-house near 
Velitrae, and the opinion prevails in the neighborhood that 
he was also born there. No one ventures to enter this room 
except of necessity and after purification, since there is a 
conviction of long standing that those who approach it with- 
out ceremony are seized with shuddering and terror; and 
what is more, this has recently been shown to be true. For 
when a new owner, either by chance or to test the matter, went 
to bed in that room, it came to pass that, after a very few 
hours of the night, he was thrown out by a sudden mysterious 
force, and was found bedclothes and all half-dead before the 

1 Mark Antony. 


In his infancy he was given the surname Thurinus in mem- 
ory of the home of his ancestors, or else because it was near 
Thurii that his father, Octavius, shortly before the birth of 
his son, had gained his victory over the runaway slaves. That 
he was surnamed Thurinus I may assert on very truthworthy 
evidence, since I once owned a little bronze bust, representing 
him as a boy and inscribed with that name in letters of iron 
almost illegible from age. This I presented to the Emperor, 1 
who cherishes it among the Lares of his bedchamber. Further- 
more, he is often called Thurinus in Mark Antony's letters 
by way of insult. To this Augustus merely replied he was 
surprised that his former name was thrown in his face as a 
reproach. Later he took the name of Gaius Caesar and then 
the surname Augustus, the former by the will of his great- 
uncle, the latter on the motion of Munatius Plancus. For 
when some expressed the opinion that he ought to be called 
Romulus as a second founder of the city, Plancus carried the 
proposal that he should rather be named Augustus, on the 
ground that this was not merely a new title but a more honor- 
able one, inasmuch as sacred places too, and those in which 
anything is consecrated by augural rites are called "august" 
(august a) , from the increase (auctus) in dignity, or from the 
movements or feeding of the birds (avium gestus gustusve)., 
as Ennius also shows when he writes: 

"After by august augury illustrious Rome was built." 

At the age of four he lost his father. In his twelfth year 
he delivered a funeral oration to the assembled people in honor 
of his grandmother Julia. Four years later, after assuming 
the gown of manhood, 2 he received military prizes at Caesar's 
African triumph, although he had taken no part in the war 
on account of his youth. When his uncle presently went to 
Spain to engage the sons of Pompey, although Augustus had 
hardly yet recovered his strength after a severe illness, he 
followed over roads beset by the enemy with only a very 
few companions, and that too after suffering shipwreck, and 

1 That is, to Hadrian. 

2 The ordinary Roman toga, all white, usually first worn at sixteen 
years of age. 


thereby greatly endeared himself to Caesar, who soon formed 
a high opinion of his character over and above the energy 
with v hich he had made the journey. 

When Caesar, after recovering the Spanish provinces, 
planned an expedition against the Dacians and then against 
the Parthians, Augustus, who had been sent on in advance 
to Apollonia, devoted his leisure to study. As soon as he 
learned that his uncle had been slain and that he was his 
heir, he was in doubt for some time whether to appeal to the 
nearest legions, but gave up the idea as hasty and premature. 
He did, however, return to the city and enter upon his in- 
heritance, in spite of the doubts of his mother and the strong 
opposition of his stepfather, the ex-Consul Marcius Philippus. 
Then he levied armies and henceforth ruled the State, at 
first with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Lepidus, then with 
Antony alone for nearly twelve years, and finally by himself 
for forty-four. 

Having given as it were a summary of his life, I shall now 
take up its various phases one by one, not in chronological 
order, but by classes, to make the account clearer and more 

The civil wars which he waged were five, called by the 
names of Mutina, Philippi, Perusia, Sicily, and Actium. The 
first and last of these were against Marcus Antonius, the sec- 
ond against Brutus and Cassius, the third against Lucius 
Antonius, brother of the Triumvir, and the fourth against 
Sextus Pompeius, son of Gnaeus. 

The initial reason for all these wars was this: he considered 
nothing more incumbent on him than to avenge his uncle's 
death and maintain the validity of his enactments. He re- 
solved, therefore, immediately on his return from Apollonia 
to surprise Brutus and Cassius by taking up arms against 
them. When they foresaw the danger and fled, he resolved to 
proceed against them by an appeal to the laws in their absence 
and impeach them for the murder. In the meantime, since 
those who had been appointed to celebrate Caesar's last vic- 
tory by games did not dare to do so, he gave them himself. 
To be able to carry out his other plans with more authority, 
he announced himself candidate for the office of one of the 
Tribunes of the people, who happened to die at that time, 


though he was a patrician, and not yet a Senator. 1 But when 
his designs were opposed by Marcus Antonius, who was then 
Consul, and on whose help he had especially counted, and 
Antony would not allow him even common and ordinary jus- 
tice without the promise of a heavy bribe, he went over to 
the aristocrats, who he knew detested Antony, especially be- 
cause he was besieging Decimus Brutus at Mutina, and trying 
to drive him by force of arms from the province given him 
by Caesar and ratified by the Senate. Accordingly at the 
advice of certain men he hired assassins to kill Antony, and 
when the plot was discovered, fearing retaliation he mustered 
veterans, by the use of all the money he could command, both 
for his own protection and that of the State. Put in command 
of the army which he had raised, with the rank of Propraetor, 
and bidden to join with Hirtius and Pansa, who had become 
Consuls, in lending aid to Decimus Brutus, he finished the 
war which had been entrusted to him within three months in 
two battles. In the former of these, so Antony writes, he took 
flight and was not seen again until the next day, when he re- 
turned without his cloak and his horse. But in that which 
followed all agree he played the part not only of a leader, 
but of a soldier as well, and that, in the thick of the fight, 
when the eagle-bearer of his legion was severely wounded, he 
shouldered the eagle and carried it for some time. 

As Hirtius lost his life in battle during this war, and Pansa 
shortly afterwards from a wound, the rumor spread that he 
had caused the death of both, in order that after Antony had 
been put to flight and the state bereft of its Consuls, he might 
gain sole control of the victorious armies. The circumstances 
of Pansa's death in particular were so suspicious, that the 
physician Glyco was imprisoned on the charge of having ap- 
plied poison to his wound. Aquilius Niger adds to this that 
Augustus himself slew the other Consul Hirtius amid the 
confusion of the battle. 

But when he learned that Antony after his flight had found 
a protector in Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the 
leaders and armies were coming to terms with them, he aban- 
doned the cause of the nobles without hesitation, alleging as 

1 Since the time of Sulla only Senators had been eligible for the 
position of Tribune. 


a pretext for his change of allegiance the words and acts 
of certain of their number, asserting that some had called him 
a boy, while others had openly said that he ought to be hon- 
ored and got rid of, to escape the necessity of making suitable 
recompense to him or to his veterans. To show more plainly 
that he regretted his connection with the former party, he 
imposed a heavy fine on the people of Nursia and banished 
them from their city when they were unable to pay it, because 
they had at public expense erected a monument to their 
citizens who were slain in the battles at Mutina and inscribed 
upon it: "They fell for liberty." 

Then, forming a league with Antony and Lepidus, he fin- 
ished the war of Philippi also in two battles, although, weak- 
ened by illness, he was in the first battle driven from his 
camp and barely made his escape by fleeing to Antony's 
division. He did not use his victory with moderation, but 
after sending Brutus's head to Rome, 1 to be cast at the feet 
of Caesar's statue, he vented his spleen upon the most dis- 
tinguished of his captives, not even sparing them insulting 
language. For instance, to one man who begged humbly for 
burial, he is said to have replied: "The birds will soon settle 
that question." When two others, father and son, begged for 
their lives, he is said to have bidden them cast lots or play 
mora, 2 to decide which should be spared, and then to have 
looked on while both died, since the father was executed be- 
cause he offered to die for his son, and the latter thereupon 
took his own life. Because of this the rest, including Marcus 
Favonius, the well-known imitator of Cato, saluted Antony 
respectfully as Imperator, 8 when they were led out in chains, 
but lashed Augustus to his face with the foulest abuse. 

When the duties of administration were divided after the 
victory, Antony undertaking to restore order in the East, and 
Augustus to lead the veterans back to Italy and assign them 

1 Defeated in the second engagement, Brutus retired to a hill, and 
slew himself in the night. 

2 A game still common in Italy, in which the players suddenly thrust 
out their fingers, the winner being the one who names correctly the 
number of fingers held out by his opponent. 

8 That is, victorious general, implying that he and not Octavius was 
their conqueror. 


lands in the municipalities, he could neither satisfy the vet- 
erans nor the landowners, 1 since the latter complained that 
they were driven from their homes, and the former that they 
were not being treated as their services had led them to hope. 

When Lucius Antonius at this juncture attempted a revo- 
lution, relying on his position as Consul and his brother's 
power, he forced him to take refuge in Perusia, and starved 
him into surrender, not, however, without great personal 
danger both before and during the war. For at an exhibition 
of games, when he had given orders that a common soldier 
who was sitting within the fourteen reserved rows be put out 
by an attendant, a report was spread by his detractors that 
he had afterwards tortured the man and put him to death, 
and the soldiers flocked together so enraged that he narrowly 
escaped with his life. The only thing that saved him was the 
sudden reappearance of the man, safe and sound, no violence 
having been offered him. Again, when he was sacrificing near 
the walls of Perusia, he was well nigh cut off by a band of 
gladiators, who had made a sally from the town. 

After the capture of Perusia he took vengeance on many, 
meeting all attempts to beg for pardon or to make excuses 
with the one reply, "You must die." Some write that three 
hundred men of both orders were selected from the prisoners 
of war and sacrifices 2 on the Ides of March like so many 
victims at the altar raised to the Deified Julius. Some have 
written that he took up arms of a set purpose, to unmask his 
secret opponents and those whom fear rather than good-will 
kept faithful to him, by giving them the chance to follow the 
lead of Lucius Antonius; and then by vanquishing them and 
confiscating their estates to pay the rewards promised to his 

The Sicilian war was among the first that he began, but it 
was long drawn out by many interruptions, now for the pur- 
pose of rebuilding his fleets, which he twice lost by shipwreck 
and storms, and that, too, in the summer; and again by patch* 
ing up a peace to which he was forced by the clamors of the 
people when supplies were cut off and there was a severe 

1 Vergil was one of the landowners ejected from his farm. He nar- 
rowly escaped being killed by the Centurion Ario. 

2 Brained with an axe and not beheaded. 


famine. Finally, after new ships had been built and twenty 
thousand slaves set free and trained as oarsmen, 1 he made the 
Julian harbor at Baiae by letting the sea into the Lucrine lake 
and lake Avernus. After drilling his forces there all winter, he 
defeated Pompey between Mylae and Naulochus, though just 
before the battle he was suddenly overcome by so deep a sleep 
that his friends had to awaken him to give the signal. And it 
was this, I think, that gave Antony opportunity for the taunt: 
"He could not even look with steady eyes at the fleet when it 
was ready for battle, but lay in a stupor on his back, looking 
up at the sky, and did not rise or appear before the soldiers 
until the enemy's ships had been put to flight by Marcus 
Agrippa." Some censured another act and saying of his, de- 
claring that when his fleets were lost in the storm, he cried 
out, "I will have the victory spite of Neptune," ahd that on 
the next day on which there were games in the Circus, he 
removed the statue of that god from the sacred procession. 
And it is safe to say that in none of his wars did he encounter 
more dangers or greater ones. For when he had transported 
an army to Sicily and was on his way back to the rest of his 
forces on the mainland, he was surprised by Pompey's ad- 
mirals Demochares and Apollophanes and barely escaped with 
but a single ship. Again, as he was going on foot to Regium 
by way of Locri, he saw some of Pompey's galleys coasting 
along the shore, and taking them for his own ships and going 
down to the beach, narrowly escaped capture. At that same 
time, too, as he was making his escape by narrow bypaths, a 
slave of his companion Aemilius Paulus, nursing a grudge 
because Augustus had outlawed his master's father some time 
before, and thinking that he had an opportunity for revenge, 
attempted to slay him. 

After the flight of Pompey, Marcus Lepidus, his other col- 
league, whom he had summoned from Africa to help him, was 
puffed up by confidence in his twenty legions and claimed the 
first place with terrible threats. But Augustus stripped him 
of his army, and though he granted him his life when he sued 
for it, he banished him for all time to Circei. 

1 The Romans employed slaves in their wars only in cases of great 
emergency, and with much reluctance. Augustus was the first who 
manumitted them and used them as rowers in his galleys. 


At last he broke off his alliance with Marcus Antonius, 
which was always doubtful and uncertain, and with difficulty 
kept alive by various reconcilations. The better to show that 
his rival had fallen away from conduct becoming a citizen, 
he had the will which Antony had left in Rome, naming his 
children by Cleopatra among his heirs, opened and read before 
the people. But when Antony was declared a public enemy, 
he sent back to him all his kinsfolk and friends, among others 
Gaius Sosius and Titus Domitius, who were still Consuls at 
the time. He also excused the community of Bononia from 
joining in the rally of all Italy to his standards, since they had 
been from ancient days dependents of the Antonii. Not long 
afterwards he won the s^a-fight at Actium, where the contest 
continued to so late an hour that the victor passed the night 
on board. 'From Actium he went to the Island of Samos to 
winter. But being alarmed by news of a mutiny of the troops 
that he had selected from every division of his army and sent 
on to Brundisium l after the victory, who demanded their 
rewards and discharge, he returned to Italy. On this pp jsage 
he twice encountered storms at sea, first between the head- 
lands of the Peloponnesus and Aetolia, and again off the 
Ceraunian mountains. In both places a part of his galleys 
were sunk, while the rigging of the ship in which he was sail- 
ing was carried away and its rudder broken. He delayed at 
Brundisium only twenty-seven days just long enough to 
satisfy all the demands of the soldiers and then went to 
Egypt by a roundabout way through Asia and Syria, laid siege 
to Alexandria, where Antony had taken refuge with Cleopatra, 
and soon took the city. Although Antony tried to make terms 
at the eleventh hour, Augustus forced him to commit suicide, 
and viewed his corpse. 2 He greatly desired to save Cleopatra 
alive for his triumph, and even had Psylli 8 brought to her, 
to snc'c the poison from her wound, since it was thought that 

1 The usual port of embarkation for the East, now Brindisi. Vergil 
died there. 

2 We have no other authority that Octavius viewed Antony's corpse. 
Plutarch says that when he heard of Antony's death he sought the 
interior of his tent and wept over the fate of his colleague and friend. 

8 These people were supposed to have especial skill in saving those 
bitten by snakes. 


she died from the bite of an asp. He allowed them both the 
honor of burial, and in the same tomb, giving orders that the 
mausoleum which they had begun should be finished. The 
young Antony, the elder of Fulvia's two sons, he dragged 
from the image of the Deified Julius, to which he had fled after 
many vain entreaties, and slew him. Caesarion, too, whom 
Cleopatra fathered on Caesar, he overtook in his flight, brought 
back, and put to death. But he spared the rest of the off- 
spring of Antony and Cleopatra, and afterwards maintained 
and reared them according to their several positions, as care- 
fully as if they were his own kin. 

About this time he had the sarcophagus and body of Alex- 
ander the Great brought forth from its shrine, and after gazing 
on it, showed his respect by placing upon it a golden crown 
and strewing it with flowers. When he was then asked if he 
wished to see the tomb of the Ptolemies as well, he replied, 
"My wish was to see a King, not corpses." 

He reduced Egypt to the form of a province, and then to 
make it more fruitful and better adapted to supply the city 
tfith grain, he set his soldiers at work cleaning out all the 
canals into which the Nils overflows, which in the course of 
many years had become choked with mud. To extend tbe fame 
of his victory at Actium and perpetuate its memory, he 
founded a city called Nicopolis near Actium, and provided 
for the celebration of games there every five years; enlarged 
the ancient temple of Apollo; and after adorning the site 
of the camp which he had occupied with naval trophies, 4 - 
consecrated it to Neptune and Mars. 

After this he nipped in the bud at various times several 
outbreaks, insurrections, and conspiracies, which were be- 
trayed before they became formidable. The ringleaders were, 
first the young Lepidus, then Varro Murena and Fannius 
Caepio, later Marcus Egnatius, next Plautius Rufus and 
Lucius Paulus, husband of the Emperor 's granddaughter, and 
besides these Lucius Audasius, who had been charged with 
forgery, and was moreover old and feeble; also Asinius Epi- 
cadus, a half-breed of Parthian descent, and finally Telephus, 

Formed of the prows of ships. 


slave and page l of a woman, for even men of the lowest con- 
dition conspired against him and imperiled his safety. Auda- 
sius and Epicadus had formed the design of forcibly carrying 
off to the armies his daughter Julia, and his grandson Agrippa, 
from the islands where they were confined. Telephus, under 
the delusion that he himself was destined for empire, proposed 
to fall upon both Octavius and the Senate. Even a soldier's 
servant from the army in Illyricum, who had escaped the vigi- 
lance of the door-keepers, was caught at night near the Em- 
peror's bedroom, armed with a hunting knife. But whether 
this fellow was crazy or only feigned madness is uncertain, 
since nothing could be wrung from him by torture. 

He conducted in person only two foreign wars: the Dal- 
matian, when he was but a youth; and after Antony's final 
defeat, the Cantabrian. He was wounded, too, in the former 
campaign, being struck on the right knee with a stone in one 
battle, and in another having a leg and both arms severely in- 
jured by the collapse of a bridge. His other wars he carried 
on through his generals, although he was either present at 
some of those in Pannonia and Germany, or was not far from 
the front, since he went from Rome as far as Ravenna, Medio- 
lanum, or Aquileia. 

In part as leader, and in part with armies serving under his 
auspices, he subdued Cantabria, Aquitania, Pannonia, Dal- 
matia, and all Illyricum, as well as Raetia and the Vindelici 
and Salassi, which are Alpine tribes. He also put a stop to 
the inroads of the Dacians, slaying great numbers of them, 
together with three of their leaders, and forced the Germans 
back to the farther side of the river Albis, with the exception 
of the Suebi and Sigambri, who submitted to him and were 
taken into Gaul and settled in lands near the Rhine. He re- 
duced to submission other peoples, too, that were in a state 
of unrest. 

But he never made war on any nation without just and due 
cause, and he was so far from desiring to increase his do- 
minion or his military glory at any cost, that he forced the 
chiefs of certain barbarians to take oath in the temple of 

1 Nomenculator: a name-prompter, used most often by candidates 
electioneering, when it was of course most necessary to address by his 
right name one whose vote was being solicited. 


Mars the Avenger that they would faithfully keep the peace 
for which they asked. Of some he demanded a new kind of 
hostages, their women, having found from experience that 
they cared little for pledges secured by males. But he always 
afforded them the privilege of reclaiming their hostages when- 
ever they wished. On those who rebelled often or under cir- 
cumstances of especial treachery he never inflicted any severer 
punishment than that of selling the prisoners, with the con- 
dition that they should not pass their term of slavery in a 
country near their own, nor be set free within thirty years. 
The reputation for virtue and moderation which he thus 
gained led even the Indians and the Scythians, nations known 
to us only by hearsay, to send envoys of their own free will 
and sue for his friendship and that of the Roman people. 
The Parthians, too, readily yielded to him, when he laid claim 
to Armenia, and at his demand surrendered the standards 
which they had taken from Marcus Crassus and Marcus 
Antonius. They offered him hostages besides, and once when 
there were several claimants of their throne, they would accept 
only the one whom he selected. 

The temple of Janus Quirinus, which had been closed but 
twice before his time since the founding of the city, 1 he closed 
three times in a far shorter period, having won peace on land 
and sea. He twice entered the city in an ovation, after the 
war of Philippi, and again after that in Sicily, and he cele- 
brated three regular triumphs 2 for his victories in Dalmatia, 
at Actium, and at Alexandria, all on three successive days. 

He suffered but two severe and ignominious defeats, those 
of Lollius and Varus, both of which were in Germany. Of 
these the former was more humiliating than serious, but the 
latter was almost fatal, since three legions were cut to pieces 
with their general, his lieutenants, and all the auxiliaries. 
When the news of this came, he ordered that watch be kept 
by night throughout the city, to prevent any outbreak, and 

1 In the reign of Numa, and in 235 B.C., after the first Punic war. It 
was Numa, successor of Romulus, founder of Rome, who was said to 
have ordained the temple be open when Rome was at war, closed when 
at peace. 

2 The ovation was a lesser triumph, in which the general entered the 
city on foot or horseback* instead of a chariot. He received the myrtle 
crown in an ovation, in a triumph the laurel. 


he prolonged the terms of the Governors of the provinces, 
that the allies might be held to their allegiance by experienced 
men with whom they were acquaintd. He also made a vow to 
celebrate great games in honor of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, 
a thing which had been done in the Cimbric and Marsic wars, 
if the condition of the commonwealth were restored to greater 
prosperity. In fact, they say that he was so greatly affected 
that for several months in succession he cut neither his beard 
nor his hair, and sometimes he would dash his head against a 
door, 1 crying: "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" 
And he observed the day of the disaster each year as one of 
sorrow and mourning. 

He made many changes and innovations in the army, be- 
sides reviving some usages of former times. He exacted the 
strictest discipline. It was with great reluctance that he a - 
lowed even his generals to visit their wives, and then only in 
the winter season. He sold a Roman knight and his property 
at public auction, because he had cut off the thumbs of his 
two young sons to make them unfit for military service; but 
when he saw that some tax-gatherers were intent upon buying 
him, he knocked him down to a freeman of his own, with the 
understanding that he should be banished to the country 
districts, but allowed to live in freedom. He dismissed the en- 
tire tenth legion in disgrace, because they were insubordinate, 
and others, too, that demanded their discharge in an insolent 
fashion, he disbanded without the rewards which would have 
been due for faithful service. If any cohorts gave way in bat- 
tle, he decimated them, 2 and fed the rest on barley. When 
Centurions left their posts, he punished them with death, just 
as he did the rank and file ; for faults of other kinds he im- 
posed various ignominious penalties, such as ordering them 
to stand all day long before the general's tent, sometimes in 
their tunics without their sword-belts, or again holding ten- 
foot poles or even a clod of earth. 8 

1 In the belief that by doing injury to one's own body the Gods 
would be sooner pacified. 

2 That is, executed every tenth man, selected by lot. 

8 Carrying the pole to measure off the camp, or clods for building 
the rampart, was the work of common soldiers, hence degrading for 


After the civil wars he never called any of the troops "com- 
rades," either in the assembly or in an edict, but always 
"soldiers"; and he would not allow them to be addressed 
otherwise, even by those of his sons or stepsons who held 
military commands, thinking the former term too flattering 
for the requirements of discipline, the peaceful state of the 
times, and his own dignity and that of his household. Except 
as a fire-brigade at Rome, and when there was fear of riots 
in times of scarcity, he employed freedmen as soldiers only 
twice: once as a guard for the colonies in the vicinity of 
Illyricum, and again to defend the bank of the river Rhine. 
These he conscripted from men and women of wealth, and 
at once gave them their freedom. But he kept them under a 
standard of their own, not mingling them with the soldiers of 
free birth or arming them in the same fashion. 

As military prizes he was somewhat more ready to give 
trappings or collars, valuable for their gold and silver, than 
crowns for scaling ramparts or walls, which conferred high 
honor. The latter he gave as sparingly as possible and with- 
out favoritism, often even to the common soldiers. He pre- 
sented Marcus Agrippa with a blue banner in Sicily after his 
naval victory. Those who had celebrated triumphs were the 
only ones whom he thought ineligible for prizes, even though 
they had been the companions of his campaigns and shared 
in his victories, on the ground that they themselves had the 
privilege of bestowing such honors wherever they wished. He 
thought nothing less becoming in a well-trained leader than 
haste and rashness, and, accordingly, favorite sayings of his 
were: "More haste, less speed"; "Better a safe commander 
than a bold 7 ' 1 ; and "That is done quickly enough which is 
done well enough." He used to say that a war or a battle 
should not be begun under any circumstances unless the hope 
of gain was clearly greater than the fear of loss; for he likened 
such as grasped at slight gains with no slight risk to those who 
fished with a golden hook, the loss of which, if it were car^ 
ried off, could not be made good by any catch. 

He received offices and honors before the usual age, and 
some of a new kind and for life. He usurped the consulship in 

1 From Euripides' Phoenicians. 


the twentieth year of his age/ leading his legions against the 
city as if it were that of an enemy, and sending messengers 
to demand the office for him in the name of his army. When 
the Senate hesitated, his Centurion, Cornelius, leader of the 
deputation, throwing back his cloak and showing the hilt of 
his sword, did not hesitate to say in the House, "This will 
make him Consul, if you do not." He held his second consul- 
ship nine years later, a third after a year's interval, and the 
rest up to the eleventh were in successive years. Then after 
declining a number of terms that were offered him, he asked 
of his own accord for a twelfth after a long interval, no less 
than seventeen years, and two years later for a thirteenth, 
wishing to hold the highest magistracy at the time when he 
introduced each of his sons, Gaius and Lucius, to public life 
upon their coming of age. The five consulships from the sixth 
to the tenth he held for the full year, the rest for nine, six, 
four, or three months, except the second, which lasted only a 
few hours; for after sitting for a short time on the curule 2 
chair in front of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in the early 
morning, he resigned the honor on the Kalends of January 
and appointed another in his place. He did not begin all his 
consulships in Rome, but the fourth in Asia, the fifth on the 
Isle of Samos, the eighth and ninth at Tarraco. 

He was for ten years a member of the Triumvirate 8 for 
restoring the State to order, and though he opposed his col- 
leagues for some time and tried to prevent a proscription, yet 
when it was begun, he carried it through with greater severity 
than either of them. For while they could oftentimes be moved 
by personal influence and entreaties, he alone was most in- 
sistent that no one should be spared, even adding to the list 
his guardian, Gaius Toranius, who had also been the colleague 
of his father, Octavius, in the aedileship. Julius Saturninus 
adds that after the proscription was over Marcus Lepidus 
made an apology in the Senate for their past proceedings, and 
gave them hopes of a more mild administration for the 

1 The law called Annalis required Consuls to be at least 43. 

2 Used by a principal magistrate. Constructed of wood, inlaid with 
ivory, the seat of leather. It could be folded for convenience in carrying) 
and had no back. 

8 The other two being Antony and Lepidus. 


future, since enough punishment had been inflicted; but that 
Augustus on the contrary declared that he had consented to 
end the proscription only on condition that he was allowed a 
free hand for the future. However, to show his regret for this 
inflexibility, he later honored Titus Vinius Philopoemen with 
equestrian rank, because it was said that he had hidden his 
patron, who was on the proscription list. 

While he was Triumvir, Augustus incurred general detesta- 
tion by many of his acts. For example, when he was addressing 
the soldiers and a throng of civilians had been admitted to the 
assembly, noticing that Pinarius, a Roman Knight, was tak- 
ing notes, he ordered that he be stabbed on the spot, thinking 
him an eavesdropper and a spy. Because Tedius Afer, Consul- 
elect, railed at some act ot his in spiteful terms, he uttered 
such terrible threats that Afer committed suicide. Again, when 
Quintus Galhus, a Praetor, held some folded tablets under 
his robe as he was paying his respects, Augustus, suspecting 
that he had a sword concealed there, did not dare to make a 
search on the spot for fear it should turn out to be something 
else; but a little later he had Gallius hustled from the tribunal 
by some Centurions, tortured him as if he were a slave, and 
though he made no confession, ordered his execution, first 
tearing out the man's eyes with his own hand, lie himself 
writes, however, that Gallius made a treacherous attack on 
him after asking for an audience, and was haled to prison; 
and that after he was dismissed under sentence of banishment, 
he either lost his life by shipwreck or was waylaid by brigands. 

He received the tribunician power for life, and once or twice 
chose a colleague in the office for periods of five years each. 
He was also given the supervision of morals and of the laws 
for all time, and by the virtue of this position, although with- 
out the title of Censor, he nevertheless took the census thrice, 
the first and last time with a colleague, the second time alone. 

He twice thought of restoring the republic; first immedi- 
ately after the overthrow of Antony, remembering that his 
rival had often made the charge that it was his fault that it 
was not restored; and again in the weariness of a lingering 
illness, when he went so far as to summon the magistrates 
and the Senate to his house, and submit an account of the gen- 
eral condition of the empire. Reflecting, however, that as be 


himself would not be free from danger if he should retire, so 
too it would be hazardous to trust the State to the control of 
the populace, he continued to keep it in his hands; and it is 
not easy to say whether his intentions or their results were the 
better. His good intentions he not only expressed from time 
to time, but put them on record as well in an edict in the fol- 
lowirg words: "May it be my privilege to establish the State 
in a firm and secure position, and enjoy therefrom the rewards 
of which I am ambitious, that of being called the author of 
the best possible government, and of carrying with me when 
I die the hope that the foundations which I have laid for the 
State will remain unshaken." And he realized his hope by 
making every effort to prevent any dissatisfaction with the 
new regime. 

The city, which was not built in a manner suitable to the 
grandeur of the Empire, and was liable to inundations as well 
as to fires, was so improved and beautified under his adminis- 
tration that he boasted, not without reason, that he had found 
it built of brick and left it in marble. He made it secure for 
the future against such disasters as far as human foresight 
could effect this. 

He built many public works, in particular the following: 
his Forum with the temple of Mars the Avenger, the temple 
of Apollo on the Palatine, and the fane of Jupiter the Thun- 
derer on the Capitol. His reason for building the Forum was 
the increase in the number of the people and of cases at law, 
which seemed to call for a third Forum, since two were no 
longer adequate. Therefore it was opened to the public with 
some haste, before the temple of Mars was finished, and it 
was provided that the public prosecutions be held there apart 
from the rest, as well as the selection of jurors by lot. He 
had made a vow to build the temple of Mars in the war of 
Philippi, which he undertook to avenge his father. Accord- 
ingly he decreed that in it the Senate should consider wars 
and claims for triumphs, from it those who were on their 
way to the provinces with military commands should be 
escorted, and to it victors on their return should bear the 
tokens of their triumphs. He reared the temple of Apollo in 
that part of his house on the Palatine for which the sooth- 
sayers declared that the God had shown his desire by striking 


it with lightning. He joined to it colonnades with Latin and 
Greek libraries, and when he was getting to be an old man 
he often held meetings of the Senate there as well, and revised 
the lists of jurors. He dedicated the shrine to Jupiter the 
Thunderer because of a narrow escape. For, on his Cantabrian 
expedition during a march by night, a flash of lightning 
grazed his litter and struck the slave dead who was carrying 
a torch before him. He constructed some works, too, in the 
name of others, his grandsons to wit, his wife and his sister, 
such as the colonnade and basilica of Gaius and Lucius; also 
the colonnades of Livia and Octavia, and the theater of Mar- 
cellus. More than that, 'he often urged other prominent men 
to adorn the city with new monuments or to restore and em- 
bellish old ones, each according to his means. And many such 
works were built at that time by many men; for example, the 
temple of Hercules of the Muses by Marcius Philippus, the 
temple of Diana by Lucius Cornificius, the Hall of Liberty 
by Asinius Pollio, the temple of Saturn by Munatius Plancus> 
a theater by Cornelius Balbus, an amphitheater by Statilius 
Taurus, and by Marcus Agrippa in particular many magnifi- 
cent structures. 

He divided the area of the city into regions and wards, 
arranging that the former should be under the charge of 
magistrates selected each year by lot, and the latter under 
wardens elected by the inhabitants of the respective neighbor- 
hoods. To guard against fires he devised a system of stations 
of night watchmen, and to control the floods, he widened 
and cleared out the channel of the Tiber, which had for some 
time been filled with rubbish and narrowed by jutting build- 
ings. Further, to make the approach to the city easier from 
every direction, he personally undertook to rebuild the 
Flanrnian Road all the way to Ariminum, and assigned the 
rest of the highways to others who had been honored with 
triumphs, asking them to use their prize-money in paving 

He restored sacred edifices which had gone to ruin through 
lapse of time or had been destroyed by fire, and adorned both 
these and the other temples with most lavish gifts, depositing 
in the shrine of Jupiter Capitolinus as a single offering sixteen 


thousand pounds of gold, besides pearls and other precious 
stones to the value of fifty million sesterces. 1 

The office of High Priest, of which he could not decently 
deprive Lepidus as long as he lived, he assumed as soon as he 
was dead. 2 He then collected whatever prophetic writings of 
Greek or Latin origin were in circulation anonymously or 
tinder the names of authors of little repute, and burned more 
than two thousand of them, preserving only the Sibylline 
books, and even among those he made a choice. These he 
deposited in two gilded cases under the pedestal of the Pala- 
tine Apollo. Inasmuch as the calendar, which had been set 
in order by the Deified Julius, had later been confused and 
disordered through negligence, he restored it to its former 
system. In making this arrangement he called the month 
Sextilis by his own surname, rather than his birth-month 
September, because in the former he had won his first consul- 
ship and his most brilliant victories. He increased the number 
and importance of the priests, and also their allowances and 
privileges, in particular those of the Vestal Virgins. Moreover, 
when there was occasion to choose another Vestal in place 
of one who had died, and many used all their influence to 
avoid submitting their daughters to the hazard of the lot, 
he solemnly swore that if any one of his granddaughters were 
of eligible age, he would have proposed her name. He also 
revived some of the ancient rites which had gradually fallen 
into disuse, such as the augury of Public Health, 8 the office 
of Flamen Dialis, the ceremonies of the Lupercalia, the Secu- 
lar Games, and the festival of the Compitalia. At the Luper- 
calia he forbade beardless youths to join in the running, and at 
the Secular Games he would not allow young people of either 
sex to attend any entertainment by night except in company 
with some adult relative. He provided that the Guardian Gods 

1 $2,050,000.00. 

2 This office, Pontijex Maximus, was of importance from the sane* 
tity attached to it and the influence which could be wielded from it 
over the whole system of religion. In this case it served as a sort of 
honorable retirement in which Lepidus had been shelved when Augustus 
got rid of him quietly from the Triumviiate. 

8 "\s if even that could not be implored from the gods, unless the 
Signs were propitious." Dio xxxvii, 24. 


of the Crossroads be crowned twice a year, with spring and 
summer flowers. 

Next to the immortal Gods he honored the memory of the 
leaders who had raised the estate of the Roman people from 
obscurity to greatness. Accordingly he restored the works of 
such men with their original inscriptions, and in the two 
colonnades of his Forum dedicated statues of all of them in 
triumphal garb, declaring besides in a proclamation: "I have 
contrived this to lead the citizens to require me, while I live, 
and the rulers of later times as well, to attain the standard set 
by those worthies of old." He also moved the statue of Pompey 
from the hall in which Gaius Caesar had been slain and placed 
it on a marble arch opposite the grand door of Pompey's 

Many pernicious practices militating against public se- 
curity had survived as a result of the lawless habits of the 
ivil wars, or had even arisen in time of peace. Gangs of foot- 
pads openly went about with swords by their sides, ostensibly 
to protect themselves, and travelers in the country, freeman 
and slaves alike, were seized and kept in confinement in the 
slave-prisons 1 of the landowners. Numerous leagues, too, 
were formed for the commission of crimes of every kind, as- 
suming the title of some new guild. Therefore to put a stop 
to brigandage, he stationed guards of soldiers wherever it 
seemed advisable, inspected the workhouses, and disbanded 
all guilds, except such as were of long standing and formed 
for legitimate purposes. He burned the records of old debts 
to the treasury, which were by far the most frequent source 
of blackmail. He made over to their holders places in the city 
to which the claim of the state was uncertain. He struck off 
the lists the names of those who had long been under accusa- 
tion, from whose humiliation nothing was to be gained except 
the gratification of their enemies, with the stipulation that if 
any one was minded to renew the charge, he should be liable 
to the same penalty. 2 To prevent any action for damages or 

1 These were underground strong rooms, in country houses, where 
unruly slaves were confined in letters. 

* That is, if he failed to win his suit, he should suffer the penalty 
that would have been inflicted on the defendant, if he had bee* 


a disputed claim from falling through or being put off, he or- 
dered the courts to sit during the thirty days which were spent 
in celebrating honorary games. To the three divisions of jur- 
ors he added a fourth of a lower estate, to be called ducenarii * 
and to sit on cases involving trifling amounts. He enrolled as 
jurors men of thirty years or more, that is five years younger 
than usual. But when many strove to escape court duty, he 
reluctantly consented that each division in turn should have 
a year's exemption, and that the custom of holding court 
during the months of November and December should be 
given up. 2 

He himself administered justice regularly and sometimes 
up to nightfall, having a litter placed upon the tribunal, if he 
was indisposed, or even lying down at home. In his adminis- 
tration of justice he was both highly conscientious and very 
lenient ; for to save a man clearly guilty of parricide from be- 
ing sewn up in the sack, 3 a punishment which was inflicted 
only on those who pleaded guilty, he is said to have put the 
question to him in this form: "You surely did not kill your 
father, did you?" Again, in a case touching a forged will, in 
which all the signers were liable to punishment by the Corne- 
lian Law, he distributed to the jury not merely the two tablets 
for condemnation or acquittal, but a third as well, for the 
pardon of those who were shown to have been induced to sign 
by misrepresentation or misunderstanding. Each year he re- 
ferred appeals of cases involving citizens to the city Praetor, 
but those between foreigners to ex-Consuls, of whom he had 
put one in charge of the business affairs of each province. 

He revised existing laws and enacted some new ones, for 
example, on extravagance, on adultery and chastity, on brib- 
ery, and on the encouragement of marriage among the vari- 
ous classes of citizens. Having made somewhat more stringent 
changes in the last of these than in the others, he was unable 

1 Men whose property amounted to 200,000 sesterces ($8,200.00) , 
half of a Knight's estate. 

2 During these months there were a great number of holidays, includ- 
ing those of the gay Saturnalia. There was consequently a general re- 
laxation and cessation of business in Rome at this time. 

8 Parriddf.3 were beaten with rods, sewn up in a leather sack, with 
* dog, a cock y a monkey, and a snake, and thrown into the sea or a 


to carry it out because of an open revolt against its provisions, 
until he had abolished or mitigated a part of the penalties, be- 
sides increasing the rewards and allowing a three years' ex- 
emption from the obligation to marry after the death of a 
husband or wife. When the Knights even then persistently 
called for its repeal at a public show, he sent for the children 
of Germanicus and exhibited them, some in his own lap and 
some in their father's, intimating by his gestures and expres- 
sion that they should not refuse to follow that young man's 
example. And on finding that the spirit of the law was being 
evaded by betrothal with immature girls and by frequent 
changes of wives, he shortened the duration of betrothals and 
set a limit on divorce. 

The number of the Senators was swelled by a low-born 
and ill-assorted rabble. That body, in fact, now numbered 
more than a thousand, some of whom, called by the vulgar 
Orcivi, 1 were wholly unworthy, and had been admitted after 
Caesar's death 2 through favor or bribery. He therefore re- 
stored it to its former limits and distinction by two enrol- 
ments, one according to the choice of the members themselves, 
each man naming one other, and a second made by Agrippa 
and himself. On the latter occasion it is thought that he wore 
a coat of mail under his tunic as he presided, and a sword by 
his side, while ten of the most robust of his friends among the 
Senators stood by his chair. Cremutius Cordus ? - writes that 
even then the Senators were not allowed to approach except, 
one by one, and after the folds of their robes had been care- 
fully searched. Some he shamed into resigning, but he allowed 
even these to retain their distinctive dress, as well as the privi- 
lege of viewing the games from the orchestra and taking part 
in the public banquets of the order. Furthermore, that those 
who were chosen and approved might perform their duties 
more conscientiously, and also with less inconvenience, he 
provided that before taking his seat each member should 

1 The Orcivi "men freed by the grace of Orcus" (God of the dead) 
were slaves set free in the wills of their masters. 

2 By Mark Antony under the pretense they had been so named in 
papers left by Caesar. 

8 Who lived at the time of Augustus and Tiberius and wrote a History 
of the Civil Wars and the times of Augustus, as Dio (VI, 52) informs 


offer incense and wine at the altar of the god in whose temple 
the meeting was held; that regular meetings of the Senate 
should be held not oftener than twice a month, on the Kal- 
ends * and the Ides; and that in the months of September and 
October 2 only those should be obliged to attend who were 
drawn by lot, to a number sufficient for the passing of decrees. 
He also adopted the plan of privy councils chosen by lot for 
terms of six months, with which to discuss in advance mat- 
ters which were to come before the entire body. On questions 
of special importance he called upon the Senators to give their 
opinions, not according to the order established by precedent, 
but just as he fancied, to induce each man to keep his mind 
on the alert, to induce every one to hold himself ready to give 
his opinion rather than a mere vote of assent. 

He introduced other innovations too, among them these: 
that the proceedings of the Senate should not be published; 
that magistrates should not be sent to the provinces imme- 
diately after laying down their office; that a fixed sum should 
be allowed the Proconsuls for mules and tents, which it was 
the custom to contract for and charge to the State; that the 
management of the public treasury should be transferred from 
the city Quaestors to ex-Praetors or Praetors; and that the 
centumviral court, which it was usual for ex-Quaestors to con- 
voke, should be summoned by the Board of Ten. 

To enable more men to take part in the administration of 
the State, he devised new offices: the charge of public build- 
ings, of the roads, of the aqueducts, of the channel of the 
Tiber, of the distribution of grain to the people, as well as the 
prefecture of the city, a board of three for choosing Senators, 
and another for reviewing the companies of the knights when- 
ever it should be necessary. He appointed Censors, 8 an office 
which had long been discontinued. He increased the number 
of Praetors. He also demanded that whenever the consulship 

1 ist of every month. 

2 Doubtless to allow of their absence during the vintage. 

8 The office of Censor was first established in 441 B.C. with duties to 
take a census of the people and make an account of the value of their 
estates. Power as arbiter of morals was afterwards given them. The 
office then became one of great importance. Under most of the Em- 
perors the office was dispensed with, the Emperor himself exercising 
its functions, frequently with both caprice and severity. 


was conferred on him, he should have two colleagues instead 
of one; but this was not granted, since all cried out that it was 
a sufficient offense to his supreme dignity that he held the 
office with another and not alone. 

He was not less geneorus in honoring martial prowess, for 
- he had regular triumphs voted to above thirty generals, and 
the triumphal regalia to somewhat more than that number. 

To enable Senators' sons to gain an earlier acquaintance 
with public affairs, he allowed them to assume the broad pur- 
ple stripe immediately after the gown of manhood and to 
attend mer tings of the Senate; and when they began then 
military caresr, he gave them not merely a tribunate in a le- 
gion, but the command of a division of cavalry as well; and 
to furnish all of them with experience in camp life, he usually 
appointed tvvo Senators' sons to command each division. 

He reviewed the companies of Knights at frequent inter- 
vals, reviving the custom of the procession a after long disuse. 
But he Vtouid not allow an accuser to force any one to dis- 
mount as he rode by, as was often done in the past; and he 
permitted those who were conspicuous because of old age or 
any bodily infirmity to send on their horses in the review, and 
come on foot to answer to their names whenever they were 
summoned. Later, those who were over thirty-five years of age 
and desired to keep their horses no longer be excused from 
formally surrendering them. 

Having obtained ten assistants from the Senate, he com- 
pelled each Knight to render an account of his life, punishing 
some of those whose conduct was scandalous and degrading 
others; but the greater part he reprimanded with varying de- 
grees of severity. The mildest form of reprimand was to hand 
them a pair of tablets publicly, which they were to read in 
silence on the spot. 2 He censured some " 
rowed money at low interest and invested iy 

At the elections for Tribunes if 

1 A splendid parade on July 15 of the Knij 
Dressed in scarlet, wearing their decoratt 
rode their horses through the city to the Ca] 
and, leading his horse, passed in review b 
corrupt in his morals, or had diminished 
scribed standard for Knights, the Censor 

* And learn the faults they should 


enough of senatorial rank, he made appointments from among 
the Knights, with the understanding that after their term they 
might remain in whichever order they wished. Moreover, since 
many Knights whose property was diminished during the civil 
wars did not venture to view the games from the fourteen rows 
through fear of the penalty of the law regarding seating of' 
the theaters, he declared that none were liable to its provi- 
sions, if they themselves or their parents had ever possessed 
a Knight's estate. 

He revised the lists of the people street by street, and to 
prevent the Commons from being called away from their occu- 
pations too often because of the distributions of grain, he de- 
termined to give out tickets for four months' supply three 
times a year; but at their urgent request he allowed a return 
to the old custom of receiving a share every month. He also 
revived the old time election privileges, endeavoring, by nu- 
merous penalties, to suppress the practice of bribery, and dis- 
tributing to his fellow members of the Fabian and Scaptian 
tribes 1 a thousand sesterces 2 a man from his own purse on 
the day of the elections, to keep them from looking for any- 
thing from any of the candidates. 

Considering it also of great importance to keep the people 
pure and unsullied by any taint of foreign or servile blood, he 
was most chary of conferring Roman citizenship and set a 
limit to manumission. When Tiberius requested citizenship 
for a Grecian dependent of his, Augustus wrote in reply that 
he would not grant it unless the man appeared in person and 
convinced him that he had reasonable grounds for the re- 
quest. When Livia asked it for a Gaul from a tributary prov- 
ince, he refused, offering instead freedom from tribute, and 
declaring that he would more willingly suffer a loss to his 
privy purse than the prostitution of the honor of Roman citi- 
zenship. Not content with making it difficult for slaves to ac- 
quire freedom, and still more so for them to attain full rights, 
by making careful provision as to the number, condition, and 
status of those who were manumitted, he added the proviso 

1 Augustus was a member of the Fabian tribe through his adoption 
into the Julian family, and a member of the Scaptian tribe because of 
his connection with the Octavian family. 

a $41-00- 


that any one who had ever been put in irons or tortured 
should never, by any grade of freedom, acquire citizenship. 

He desired also to revive the ancient fashion of dress, and 
once when he saw in an assembly a throng of men in dark 
cloaks, he cried out indignantly, "Behold them 

Romans, lords of the world, the nation clad in the toga," ' 

and he directed the Aediles never again to allow any one to 
appear in the Forum or its neighborhood except in the toga 
and without a cloak. 

He often showed generosity to all classes when occasion 
offered. For example, by bringing the royal treasures to Rome 
in his Alexandrian triumph he made ready money so abun- 
dant, that the rate of interest fell, and the value of real estate 
rose greatly. And after that, whenever there was an excess of 
funds from the property of those who had been condemned, 
he loaned it without interest for fixed periods to any who 
could give security for double the amount. He increased the 
property qualification for Senators, requiring one million two 
hundred thousand sesterces, instead of eight hundred thou- 
sand, 2 and making up the amount for those who did not pos* 
sess it. He often gave largess to the people, but usually oi 
different sums: now four hundred, now three hundred, now 
two hundred and fifty sesterces a man; and he did not even 
exclude young boys, though it had been usual for them to re- 
ceive a share only after the age of eleven. In times of scarcity 
too he often distributed grain to each man at a very low fig- 
ure, sometimes for nothing, and he doubled the money tickets. 8 

But to show that he was a prince who desired the public 
welfare rather than popularity, when the people complained of 
the scarcity and high price of wine, he sharply rebuked thsm 
by saying: "My son-in-law Agrippa has taken good care, by 
building several aqueducts, that men shall not go thirsty/ 

* Aeneid I, 282. 

2 $49,200.00 instead of $32,800.00. 

8 These were small tablets or round, hollow balls of wood marked 
with numbers, sometimes distributed to the people instead of money t 
and entitling the holder to receive the amount inscribed on them* 
Grain, oil, and various other commodities were thus distributee!. 


Again, when the people demanded largess which he had in 
fact promised, he replied: "I am a man of my word"; but 
when they called for one which had not been promised, he re- 
buked them in a proclamation for their shameless impudence, 
and declared that he would not give it, even though he was 
intending to do so. With equal dignity and firmness, when he 
had announced a distribution of money and found that many 
had been manumitted and added to the list of citizens, he de- 
clared that those to whom no promise had been made should 
receive nothing, and gave the rest less than he had promised, 
to make the appointed sum suffice. Once indeed in a season 
of great scarcity, which it was difficult to remedy, he expelled 
from the city the slaves that were for sale, as well as the 
schools of gladiators, all foreigners with the exception of phy- 
sicians and teachers, and a part of the household slaves; and 
when grain at last became more plentiful, he writes: "I was 
strongly inclined to abolish forever the custom of distributing 
grain to the people at the public expense, because they depend 
so much on it that agriculture has been neglected. But I did 
not carry out my purpose, feeling sure that the practice would 
one day be renewed by some one ambitious of popular favor." 
But from that time on he regulated the practice with no less 
regard for the interests of the farmers and grain-dealers than 
for those of the populace. 

He surpassed all his predecessors in the frequency, variety, 
and magnificence of his public shows. He says that he gave 
games four times in his own name and twenty-three times for 
other magistrates, who v/ere either away from Rome or lacked 
means. He gave them sometimes in all the wards and on many 
stages with actors in all languages, and combats of gladiators 
not only in the Forum or the amphitheater, but in the Circus 
and in the Saepta. Sometimes, however, he gave nothing ex- 
cept a fight with wild beasts. He gave athletic contests too in 
the Campus Martius, erecting wooden seats ; also a sea-fight, 
constructing an artificial lake near the Tiber, where the grove 
of the Caesars now stands. On such occasions he stationed 
guards in various parts of the city, to prevent it from falling 
a prey to footpads because of the few people who remained 
at home. In the Circus he exhibited charioteers, runners, and 
slayers of wild animals, who were sometimes young men of 


the highest rank. Besides he gave frequent performances of 
the game of Troy by older and younger boys, thinking it a 
time-honored and worthy custom for the flower of the nobility 
to become known in this way. When Nonius Asprenas was 
lamed by a fall while taking part in this game, he presented 
him with a golden necklace and allowed him and his descend- 
ants to bear the surname Torquatus. But soon afterwards he 
gave up that form of entertainment, because Asinius Pollio 
the orator complained bitterly and angrily in the Senate of an 
accident to his grandson Aeserninus, who also had broken his 

He sometimes employed even Roman Knights in scenic and 
gladiatorial performance, but only before it was forbidden 
by decree of the Senate. After that he exhibited no one of re- 
spectable parentage, with the exception of a young man 
named Lycius, whom he showed merely as a curiosity; for he 
was less than two feet tall, weighed but seventeen pounds, yet 
had a stentorian voice. He did however on the day of one of 
the shows make a display of the first Parthian hostages that 
had ever been sent to Rome, by leading them through the 
middle of the arena and placing them in the second row above 
his own seat. Furthermore, if anything rare and worth seeing 
was ever brought to the city, it was his habit to make a special 
exhibit of it in any convenient place on days when no shows 
were appointed. For example a rhinoceros in the Saepta, a 
tiger on the stage and a snake of fifty cubits in the Comitium. 

It chanced that at the time of the games which he had 
vowed to give in the circus, he was taken ill and headed the 
sacred procession lying in a litter. Again, at the opening of 
the games with which he dedicated the theater of Marcellus, 
it happened that the joints of his curule chair gave way and he 
fell on his back. At the games for his grandsons, when the peo- 
ple were in a panic for fear the theater should fall, and he 
could not calm them or encourage them in any way, he left his 
own place and took his seat in the part which appeared most 

He put a stop by special regulations to the disorderly and 
indiscriminate fashion of viewing the games, through exas- 
peration at the insult to a Senator, to whom no one offered 
a seat in a crowded house at some largely attended games in 


Puteoli. In consequence of this the Senate decreed that, when- 
ever any public show was given anywhere, the first row of 
seats should be reserved for Senators. At Rome he would not 
allow the envoys of the free and allied nations to sit in the 
orchestra, since he was informed that even freedmen were 
sometimes appointed. He separated the soldiery from the peo- 
ple. He assigned special seats to the married men of the Com- 
mons, to boys under age their own section and the adjoining 
one to their tutors ; and he decreed that no one wearing a dark 
cloak should sit in the middle rows of the house. He would not 
allow women to view even the gladiators except from the up- 
per seats, though it had been the custom for men and women 
to sit together at such shows. Only the Vestal Virgins were 
assigned a place to themselves, opposite the Praetor's tribunal. 
As for the contests of the athletes, he excluded women from 
them so strictly, that when a contest between a pair of boxers 
had been called for at the games in honor of his appointment 
as High Priest, he postponed it until early the following day, 
making proclamation that it was his desire that women should 
not come to the theater before the fifth hour. 1 

He himself usually watched the games in the Circus from 
the upper rooms of his friends and freedmen, but sometimes 
from the imperial box, and even in company with his wife and 
children. He was sometimes absent for several hours, and now 
and then for whole days, making his excuses and appointing 
presiding officers to take his place. But whenever he was pres- 
ent, he gave his entire attention to the performance, either to 
avoid the censure to which he realized that his father Caesar 
had been generally exposed, because he spent his time in read- 
ing or answering letters and petitions; or from his interest 
and pleasure in the spectacle, which he never denied but often 
frankly confessed. Because of this he used to offer special 
prizes and numerous valuable gifts from his own purse at 
games given by others, and he appeared at no contest given 
in the Greek language and dress without making a present to 
each of the participants according to his deserts. He took espe- 
cial pleasure in watching boxers, particularly those of Latin 
birth, not merely such as were recognized and classed as pro- 

1 zi A.M. 


fessionals, whom he was wont to match even with Greeks, but 
the common untrained townspeople that fought rough and 
tumble and without skill in the narrow streets. In fine, he 
honored with his interest all classes of performers who took 
part in the public shows; maintained the privileges of the 
athletes and even increased them; forbade the matching of 
gladiators without the right of appeal for quarter; and de- 
prived the magistrates of the power allowed them by an an- 
cient law of punishing actors anywhere and everywhere, 
restricting it to the time of games and to the theater. Never- 
theless he exacted the severest discipline in the contests in the 
wrestling halls and the combats of the gladiators. In particu- 
lar he was so strict in curbing the lawlessness of the actors, 
that when he learned that Stephanie, an actor of Roman plays, 
was waited on by a matron with hair cut short to look like a 
boy, he had him whipped with rods through the three theaters 
and then banished him. Hylas, a pantomimic actor, was pub- 
licly scourged in the atrium of his own house, on complaint of 
a Praetor, and Pylades was expelled from the city and from 
Italy as well, because by pointing at him with his finger he 
turned all eyes upon a spectator who was hissing him. 

After having thus set the city and its affairs in order, he 
added to the population of Italy by personally establishing 
twenty-eight colonies ; furnished many parts of it with public 
buildings and revenues; and even gave it, at least to some de- 
gree, equal rights and dignity with the city of Rome, by de- 
vising a kind of votes which the members of the local Senate 
were to cast in each colony for candidates for the city offices 
and send under seal to Rome against the day of the elections. 
To keep up the supply of men of rank and induce the Com- 
mons to increase and multiply, he admitted to the equestrian 
military career those who were recommended^ 
while to those of the Commons who could I 
sons and daughters when he made his 
distributed a thousand sesterces for < 

The stronger provinces, which 
safely be governed by annual magis 
the others he assigned to proconsul] (verigjrspelttted by\ 



lot. But he changed some of them at times from one class to 
the other, and often visited many of both sorts. Certain of the 
cities which had treaties with Rome, but were on the road 
to ruin through their lawlessness, he deprived of their inde- 
pendence; he relieved others that were overwhelmed with 
debt, rebuilt some which had been destroyed by earthquakes, 
and gave Latin rights 1 or full citizenship to such as could point 
to services rendered the Roman people. I believe there is no 
province, excepting only Africa and Sardinia, which he did 
not visit; and he was planning to cross to these from Sicily 
after his defeat of Sextus Pompeius, but was prevented by a 
series of violent storms, and later had neither opportunity 
nor occasion to make the voyage. 

Except in a few instances he restored the kingdoms of which 
he gained possession by the right of conquest to those from 
whom he had taken them or joined them with other foreign 
nations. He also united the Kings with whom he was in alli- 
ance by mutual ties, and was very ready to propose or favor 
intermarriages or friendships among them. He never failed to 
treat them all with consideration as integral parts of the Em* 
pire, regularly appointing a guardian for such as were too 
young to rule or whose minds were affected, until they grew 
up or recovered; and he brought up the children of many of 
them and educated them with his own. 

Of his military forces he assigned legions and auxiliaries to 
the various provinces, stationed a fleet at Misenum and an- 
other at Ravenna, to defend the Upper and Lower seas, and 
employed the remainder partly in the defense of the city and 
partly in that of his own person, disbanding a troop of Cala- 
gurritani which had formed a part of his body-guard until 
the overthrow of Antony, and also one of Germans, which he 
had retained until the defeat of Varus. However, he never al- 
lowed more than three cohorts to remain in the city and even 
those were without a permanent camp. The rest he regularly 
sent to winter or summer quarters in the towns near Rome. 
Furthermore, he restricted all the soldiery everywhere to a 
fixed scale of pay and allowances, designating the duration 
of their service and the rewards on its completion according 

1 A limited citizenship, tht rights of which varied. 


to each man's rank, in order to keep them from being tempted 
to revolution after their discharge either by age or poverty. 
To have funds ready at all times without difficulty for main- 
taining the soldiers and paying the rewards due to them, he 
established a military treasury, supported by new taxes. 

To enable what was going on in each of the provinces to 
be reported and known more speedily and promptly, he at 
first stationed young men at short intervals along the military 
roads, and afterwards post-chaises. The latter has seemed the 
more convenient arrangement, since the same men who bring 
the dispatches from any place can, if occasion demands, be 
questioned as well. 

In passports, dispatches, and private letters he used as his 
seal at first a sphinx, later an image of Alexander the Great, 
and finally his own, carved by the hand of Dioscurides; and 
this his successors continued to use as their seal. He always 
attached to all letters the exact hour, not only of the day, but 
even of the night, to indicate precisely when they were written. 

Of his clemency and moderation there were abundant and 
signal instances. Not to give the full list of the men of the op- 
posite factions whom he not only pardoned and spared, but 
allowed to hold high positions in the state, I may say that he 
thought it enough to punish two plebeians, Junius Novatus 
and Cassius Patavinus, with a fine and with a rnild form of 
banishment respectively, although the former had circulated 
a most scathing letter about him under the name of the young 
Agrippa, while the latter had openly declared at a large din- 
ner party that he lacked neither the earnest desire nor the 
courage to stab him. Again, when he was hearing a case 
against Aemilius Aelianus of Corduba and it was made tl e 
chief offense, amongst other charges, that he was in the habit 
of expressing a bad opinion of Caesar, Augustus turned to 
the accuser with assumed anger and said: "I wish you could 
prove the truth of that. I'll let Aelianus know that I have a 
tongue as well as he, for I'll say even more about him"; and 
he made no further inquiry either at the time or afterwards. 
When Tiberius complained to him of the same thing in a let- 
ter, but in more forcible language, he replied as follows: "My 
dear Tiberius, do not be carried away by the ardor of youth 
in this matter, or take it too much to heart that any one speak 


evil of me; we must be content if we can stop any one from 
doing evil to us." 

Although well aware that it was usual to vote temples even 
to Proconsuls, yet he would not accept that honor even in a 
province save jointly in his own name and that of Rome. In 
the city itself he refused this honor most emphatically, even 
melting down the silver statues which had been erected to him 
in former times and with the money coined from them dedi- 
cating golden tripods to Apollo of the Palatine. 

When the people did their best to force the Dictatorship 
upon him, he knelt down, threw off his toga from his shoulders 
and with bare breast begged them not to insist. 

He always shrank from the title of Lord 1 as reproachful 
and insulting. When the words 

"O just and gracious Lord!" 

were uttered in a farce at which he was a spectator and all 
the people sprang to their feet and applauded as if they were 
said of him, he at once checked their unseemly flattery by 
look and gesture, and on the following day sharply reproved 
them in an edict. After that he would not suffer himself to be 
addressed by that term even by his children or his grand- 
children either in jest or earnest, and he iorbade them to use 
such flattering terms even among themselves. He did not if he 
could help it leave or enter any city or town except in the 
evening or at night, to avoid disturbing any one by the obli- 
gations of ceremony. In his consulship he commonly went 
through the streets on foot, and when he was not Consul, gen- 
erally in a closed litter. His morning receptions were open to 
all, including even the Commons, and he met the requests of 
those who approached him with great affability, jocosely re- 
proving one man because he presented a petition to him with 
as much hesitation "as he would a penny to an elephant." 
On the day of a meeting of the Senate he always greeted the 
members in the House as they sat, addressing each by name 

1 Dominus, "master," in the time of the Republic indicated the rela- 
tion between master and slave. Tiberius also shrank from it, and it was 
first adopted by Caligula and Domitian. From the time of Trajan it 
Was usual in the sense of "lord" or "sire." 


without a prompter; and when he left the House, he used to 
bid them farewell in the same manner, while they remained 
seated. He exchanged social calls with many, and did not 
cease to attend all their anniversaries, until he was well on in 
years and was once incommoded by the crowd on the day of 
a betrothal. When Callus Cerrinius, a Senator with whom he 
was not at all intimate, had become blind and had therefore 
resolved to end his life by starvation, Augustus called on him 
and by his consoling words induced him to live. 

As he was delivering a speech in the Senate some one said 
to him: "I did not understand," and another: "I would con- 
tradict you if I had an opportunity." Several times when he 
was rushing from the House in anger at the excessive bicker- 
ing of the disputants, some shouted after him: "Senators 
ought to have the right of speaking their mind on public 
affairs." At the selection of Senators when each member chose 
another, Antistius Labeo nominated Marcus Lepidus, an old 
enemy of the Emperor's who was at the time in banishment; 
and when Augustus asked him whether there were not others 
more deserving of the honor, Labeo replied that every man 
had his own opinion. Yet for all that no one suffered for his 
freedom of speech or insolence. 

Even when some infamous libels against him were scat- 
tered in the Senate house he was neither disturbed nor gave 
himself great trouble to refute them. Without trying to dis- 
cover the authors, he merely proposed that henceforth those 
who under a false name published notes or verses defamatory 
of any one should be called to account. 

When he was assailed with scurrilous or spiteful jests by 
certain men, he made reply in a public proclamation; yet he 
vetoed a law to check freedom of speech in wills. 1 Whenever 
he took part in the election of magistrates, he went the round 
of the tribes with his candidates and appealed for them ih the 
traditional manner. He also cast his own vote in his tribe, as 
one of the people. When he gave testimony in court, he was 
most patient in submitting to questions and even to contra- 
diction. He made his Forum narrower than he had planned) 

1 The Romans in their wills often expressed their opinions freclv 
about public men and affairs. 


because he did not venture to eject the owners of the neigh- 
boring houses. He never recommended his sons for office 
without adding "If they be worthy of it." When they were 
still under age and the audience at the theater rose as one 
man in their honor, and stood up and applauded them, he 
expressed strong disapproval. He wished his friends to be 
prominent and influential in the state, but to be bound by the 
same laws as the rest and equally liable to prosecution. When 
Nonius Asprenas, a close friend of his, was meeting a charge 
of poisoning made by Cassius Severus, 1 Augustus asked the 
Senate what they thought he ought to do; for he hesitated, 
he said for fear that if he should support him, it might be 
thought that he was shielding a guilty man, but if he failed 
to do so, that he was proving false to a friend and prejudicing 
his case. Then, since all approved of his appearing in the case, 
he sat on the benches for several hours, but in silence and 
without even speaking in praise of the defendant. 2 He did 
however defend some of his clients, for instance a certain 
Scutarius, one of his former officers, who was accused of 
slander. But he secured the acquittal of no more than one 
single man, and then only by entreaty, making a successful 
appeal to the accuser in the presence of the jurors. This was 
Castricius, through whom he had learned of Murena's con- 

How much he was beloved for his admirable conduct in all 
these respects it is easy to imagine. I say nothing of decrees of 
the Senate, which might seem to have been dictated by neces- 
sity or by awe. The Roman Knights celebrated his birthday 
of their own accord by common consent, and always for 
two successive days. All sorts and conditions of men, in ful- 
fillment of a vow for his welfare, each year threw a small coin 
into the Laeus Curtius, 8 and also brought a New Year's gift 
to the Capitol on the Kalends of January, even when he was 
away from Rome. With this sum he bought and dedicated in 
each of the city wards costly statues of the gods, such as 

1 Cassius' charge was that Nonius had with one platter of poisoned 
meat killed a hundred and thirty gliests. 

2 It was customary in defending an accused person to make a general 
eulogy of his character. 

8 An altar in the Forum, restored by Augustus. 


Apollo Sandaliarius, Jupiter Tragoedus, and others. To re- 
build his house on the Palatine, which had been destroyed by 
fire, the veterans, the guilds, the tribes, and even individuals 
of other conditions gladly contributed money, each according 
to his means. But he merely took a little from each sum col- 
lected as a matter of form, not more than a denarius 1 from 
any of them. On his return from a province they received him 
not only with prayers and good wishes, but with songs. It was 
the rule, too, that whenever he entered the city, no one that, 
day should suffer punishment. 

The whole body of pitizens with a sudden unanimous im- 
pulse proffered him the title of Father of his Country: first 
the Commons, by a deputation sent to Antium, and then, 
because he declined it, again at Rome as he entered the 
theater, which they attended in throngs, all wearing laurel 
wreaths; the Senate afterwards in the House, not by a decree 
or by acclamation, but through Valerius Messala. He, speak- 
ing for the whole body, said: "Good fortune and divine favor 
attend thee and thy house, Caesar Augustus; for thus we feel 
that we are praying for lasting prosperity for our country 
and happiness for our city. The Senate in accord with the peo- 
ple of Rome hails thee Father of thy Country." Then Augus- 
tus, with tears in his eyes, replied as follows (and I have 
given his exact words, as I did those of Messala) : "Having 
attained my highest hopes, Fathers of the Senate, what more 
have I to ask of the immortal gods than that I may retain 
this same unanimous approval of yours to the very end of my 

In honor of his physician, Antonius Musa, through whose 
care he had recovered from a dangerous illness, a sum of 
money was raised and Musa's statue set up beside that of 
Aesculapius. Some householders provided in their wills that 
their heirs should drive victims to the Capitol and pay a 
thank-offering in their behalf, because Augustus had sur 
vived them, and that a placard to this effect should be carried 
before them. Some of the Italian cities made the day on which 
he first visited them the beginning of their year. Many of the 
provinces in almost every one of their towns, besides erecting 

1 About $0.15. 


temples and altars' to his honor, instituted games to be cele- 
brated every fifth year. 

Kings who were his friends aivd allies, built cities in 
their respective kingdoms, to which they gave the name of 
Caesarea; and all with one consent resolved to finish, at their 
common expense, the temple of Jupiter Olympius, which was 
begun at Athens in ancient days, and to consecrate it to his 
genius. 1 They also would frequently leave their kingdoms and 
show him the attentions usual in dependents, clad in the toga 
and without the emblems of royalty, not only at Rome, but 
even when he was traveling through the provinces. 

Now that I have shown how he conducted himself in civil 
and military positions, and in ruling the State in all parts of 
the world in peace and in war, I shall next give an account of 
his private and domestic life, describing his character and his 
fortune at home and in his household from his youth until 
the last day of his life. 

He lost his mother during his first consulship and his sister 
Octavia in his fifty-fourth year. To both he showed marked 
devotion during their lifetime, and also paid them the highest 
honors after their death. 

In his youth he was betrothed to the daughter of Publius 
Servilius Isauricus, but when he became reconciled with An^ 
tony after their first quarrel, and their troops begged that 
the rivals be further united by some tie of kinship, he took to 
wife Antony's stepdaughter Claudia, daughter of Fulvia by 
Publius Clodius, although she was barely of marriageable 
age; but because of a falling out with his mother-in-law 
Fulvia, he divorced her before they had begun to live together. 
Shortly after that he married Scribonia, who had been wedded 
oefore to two ex-Consuls, and was a mother by one of them. 
He divorced her also, "unable to put up with her shrewish 
disposition," as he himself writes, and at once took Livia 
Drusilla from her husband Tiberius Nero, although she was 
with child at the time. Her he loved and esteemed to the end 
without a rival. 

. 1 His tutelary God, or protecting spirit, analogous to the daemon of 
the Greeks and the guardian angels of the Catholic Church. To the 
Romans every living being, animal as well as man, and every place, 
had its genius. 


By Scribonia he had a daughter Julia, by Livia no children 
at all, although he earnestly desired issue. One baby was con- 
ceived, but was prematurely born. He gave Julia in marriage 
first to Marcellus, son of his sister Octavia and hardly more 
than a boy, and then after his death to Marcus Agrippa, pre- 
vailing upon his sister to yield her son-in-law to his wishes; 
for at that time Agrippa had to wife one of the Marcellas and 
had chcildren from her. When Agrippa also died, Augustus, 
after considering various alliances for a long time, even in the 
equestrian order, finally chose for her his stepson Tiberius, 1 
obliging him to divorce his wife, who was with child and by 
whom he was already a father. Mark Antony writes that 
Augustus first betrothed his daughter to his son Antonius and 
then to Cotiso, King of the Getae, at the same time asking for 
the hand of the King's daughter for himself in turn. 

From Agrippa and Julia he had three grandsons, Gaius, 
Lucius, and Agrippa, and two granddaughters, Julia and 
Agrippina. He married Julia to Lucius Paulus, the Censor's 
son, and Agrippina to Germanicus x his sister's grandson. Gaius 
and Lucius he adopted at home, privately buying them from 
their father by a symbolic sale, 2 and initiated them into ad- 
ministrative life when they were still young, sending them to 
the provinces and the armies as Consuls-elect. In bringing up 
his daughter and his granddaughters he even had them taught 
spinning and weaving, and he forbade them to say or do any- 
thing except openly and such as might be recorded in the 
household diary. He so strictly prohibited them from all con- 
verse with strangers that he once wrote to Lucius Vinicius, a 
young man of good position and character: "You have acted 
presumptuously in coming to Baiae to call on my daughter." 
He taught his grandsons reading, swimming, and the other 
elements of education, for the most part himself, taking spe- 
cial pains to train them to imitate his own handwriting. He 
never dined in their company unless they sat beside him on 
the lowest couch, or made a journey unless they preceded his 
carriage or rode close by it on either side. 

But at the height of his happiness and his confidence in his 

1 The same who afterwards became Emperor. 

2 The form of purchase consisted in touching a pair of scales three 
times with a penny in the presence of the Praetor. 


family and its training, Fortune proved fickle. He found the 
two Julias, his daughter and granddaughter, guilty of every 
form of vice, and banished them. He lost Gaius and Lucius 
within the span of eighteen months, for the former died in 
Lycia and the latter at Massilia. He then publicly adopted 
his third grandson Agrippa and at the same time his stepson 
Tiberius by a bill passed in the assembly of the curiae; l but 
he soon disowned Agrippa because of his low tastes and vio- 
lent temper, and sent him off to Surrentum. 

He bore the death of his kin with far more resignation than 
their misconduct. For he was not greatly broken by the fate 
of Gaius and Lucius, but he informed the Senate of his daugh- 
ter's fall through a letter read in his absence by a Quaestor, 
and for very shame would meet no one for a long time, and 
even thought of putting her to death. At all events, when one 
of her confidantes, a freedwoman called Phoebe, hanged her- 
self at about that same time, he said: "I would rather have 
been Phoebe's father." In her banishment he denied Julia 
the use of wine, and every form of luxury, and would not al- 
low any man, bond or free, to come near her without his per- 
mission, and then not without being informed of his stature, 
complexion, and even of any marks or scars upon his body. 
It was not until five years later that he moved her from the 
island to the mainland 2 and treated her with somewhat less 
severity. But he could not by any means be prevailed on to 
recall her altogether, and when the Roman people several 
times interceded for her and urgently pressed their suit, he in 
open assembly called upon the gods to curse them with like 
daughters and like wives. He would not allow the child born 
to his granddaughter Julia after her sentence to be recog- 
nized or reared. As Agrippa grew no more manageable, but 
on the contrary became madder from day to day, he trans- 
ferred him to an island 8 and set a guard of soldiers over him 
besides. He also provided by a decree of the Senate that he 

1 Romulus was supposed to have divided the people of Rome into 
three Tribes and each Tribe into ten Curiae. The number of Tribes was 
gradually increased to thirty-five, but that of the Curiae always re- 
mained the same. 
* 2 rom Pandataria to Reggio in Calabria. 

8 Planasia, a little desolate island between Elba and Corsica. 


should be confined there for all time, and at every mention of 
him and of the Julias he would sigh deeply and even cry out; 

"Would God I never had wedded bride 
Or elsa that I had childless died." * 

and he never alluded to them except as his three boils and his 
three ulcers. 

He was cautious in forming friendships, but he clung to 
them with the utmost constancy, not only suitably rewarding 
their virtues and deserts but even condoning their faults, pro- 
vided they were not too great. In fact one cannot readily 
name any of his numerous friends who fell into disgrace, ex- 
cept Salvidienus Rufus, whom he had advanced to a Consul's 
rank, and Cornelius Callus, whom he had raised to the Prefec- 
ture of Egypt, both from the lowest estate. The former he 
handed over to the Senate that it might condemn him to 
death, because he was plotting revolution ; the latter he for- 
bade his house and the privilege of residence in the imperial 
provinces, because of his ungrateful and envious spirit. But 
when Callus died by his own hand, driven to it by the menaces 
of his accusers and the decrees of the Senate, though com- 
mending their loyalty and their indignation on his account, 
Augustus yet shed tears and bewailed his lot, because he alone 
could not set what limits he chose to his anger with hfe 
friends. All the rest of his friends continued to enjoy powei 
and wealth to the end of their lives, each holding a leading 
place in his own class, although sometimes differences arose. 
Not to mention the others, he occasionally found Agrippa 
lacking in patience and Maecenas in the gift of silence; for 
the former because of a slight suspicion of coolness and of 
a preference shown for Marcellus, threw up everything and 
Went off to Mytilene, while the latter betrayed to his wife 
Terentia the secret of the discovery of the conspiracy of 

He demanded of his friends proofs of reciprocal attachment 
at their deaths as well as during their lives. For though he 
was in no sense a legacy-hunter, and in fact could never bring 

1 An adaptation of line 40 Book III of the Iliad in a passage in which 
Hector is cursing Paris. 


himself to accept anything from the will of a stranger, yet he 
was highly sensitive in weighing the death-bed utterances of 
his friends, concealing neither his chagrin if he was left a nig- 
gardly bequest or one unaccompanied with compliments, nor 
his satisfaction, if he was praised in terms of gratitude and 
affection. Whenever legacies or shares in inheritances were 
left him by men of any station who had offspring, he either 
turned them over to the children at once, or if the latter were 
in their minority, paid the money back with interest on the 
day when they assumed the gown of manhood or married. 

As patron and master he was no less strict than gracious 
and merciful, while he held many of his freedmen in high 
honor and close intimacy, such as Licinus, Celadus, and 
others. His slave Cosmus, who spoke of him most insultingly, 
he merely put in irons. When he was walking with his steward 
Diomedes, and the latter in a panic got behind him when they 
were suddenly charged by a wild boar, he preferred to tax the 
man with timorousness rather than with anything more seri- 
ous, and turned a matter of grave danger into a jest, because 
after all there was no evil intent. But he forced Polus, a fa- 
vorite freedman of his, to take his own life, because he was 
convicted of adultery with Roman matrons, and broke the 
legs of his secretary Thallus for taking five hundred denarii l 
to betray the contents of a letter. Because the tutor and at- 
tendants of his son Gaius took advantage of their master's ill- 
ness and death to commit acts of arrogance and greed in his 
province, he had them thrown into a river with heavy weights 
about their necks. 

In early youth he incurred the reproach of sundry shame- 
less acts. Sextus Pompey taunted him with effeminacy; Mark 
Antony with having earned adoption by his uncle through 
unnatural relations; and Lucius, brother of Mark Antony, 
that after sacrificing his honor to Caesar he had given himself 
to Aulus Hirtius in Spain for three hundred thousand ses- 
terces, 2 and that he used to singe his legs with red-hot nut- 
shells, to make the hair grow softer. What is more, one day 
when there werft plays in the theater, all the people took as 

1 About $75-0" 

2 $12,300.00. 


directed against him and loudly applauded the following line, 
spoken on the stage and referring to a priest of the Mother of 
the Gods, as he beat his drum: 

"See'st how a wanton's finger sways the world?" 1 

That he was given to adultery not even his friends deny, 
although it is true that they excuse it as committed not from 
passion but from policy, in order to discover more easily the 
designs of his adversaries through the women of their house- 
holds. Mark Antony charged him, besides his hasty marriage 
with Livia, with taking the wife of an ex-Consul from her 
husband's dining room before his very eyes into a bed- 
chamber, and bringing her back to the table with her hair in 
disorder and her ears glowing; that he divorced Scribonia be- 
cause she expressed her resentment too freely at the excessive 
influence of a rival; that his friends acted as his panders, and 
stripped and inspected matrons and well-grown girls, as if 
Toranius the slave-dealer were putting them up for sale. 
Antony also writes to Augustus himself in the following fa- 
miliar terms, when he had not yet wholly broken with him 
privately or publicly: "What has made such a change in you? 
Because I lie with the Queen? She is my wife. Am I just be- 
ginning this, or was it nine years ago? What then of you do 
you lie only with Drusilla? Good luck to you if when you read 
this letter you have not been with Tertulla or Terentilla or 
Rufilla or Salvia Titisenia, or all of them. Does it matter 
where or with whom you take your pleasure?" 

There was besides a private entertainment which he gave, 
commonly called the Supper of the Twelve Gods, which was 
the subject of gossip. At this the guests appeared in the guise 
of Gods and Goddesses, while he himself was made up to rep- 
resent Apollo, as was charged not merely in letters of Antony, 
who spitefully gives the names of all the guests, but also in 
these anonymous verses, which every one knows: 

1 There is a double play on words: "Sways the world" might also be 
rendered "tops the orb." The allusion is to a priest of Cybele ("Mo the;' 
of the Gods") beating a drum in the orgiastic rites of that Goddess. 


<r When Mallia late beheld, in mingled train, 
Twelve mortals ape twelve deities in vain; 
Caesar assumed what was Apollo's due, 
And wine and lust inflamed the motley crew. 
At the foul sight the Gods avert their eyes, 
And from his throne great Jove indignant flies." 

llie scandal of this banquet was the greater because of dearth 
and famine in the land at the time, and on the following 
day there was an outcry that the Gods had eaten all the grain 
and that Caesar was in truth Apollo, but Apollo the Tormen- 
tor, a surname under which the God was worshiped in one 
part of the city. He was also charged with being excessively 
fond of costly furniture and Corinthian bronzes as well as 
with being addicted to gambling. Indeed, as early as the time 
of the proscriptions there was written on his statue 

"In silver once my father dealt, now in Corinthians I," 

since it was believed that he caused some men to be entered 
in the list of the proscribed only because he coveted their 
Corinthian vases. Later, during the Sicilian war, this epigram 
was current: 

"Twice having lost a fleet in luckless flight, 
To win at last, he games both day and night." 

Of these charges or slanders (whichever we may call them) 
he easily refuted that for unnatural vice by the purity of his 
life at the time and afterwards; so, too, the odium of extrava- 
gance by the fact that when he took Alexandria, he kept none 
of the furniture of the palace for himself except a single agate 
rup, and presently melted down all the golden vessels in- 
iended for everyday use. He could not dispose of the charge 
of histfulness and they say that even in his later years he was 
fond of deflowering maidens, who were brought together for 
him from all quarters, even by his own wife. He did not in the 
least shrink from a reputation for gaming, and played frankly 
and openly for recreation, even when he was well on in years, 
not only in the month of December, 1 but on other holidays 

1 When freedom to gamble, feast, and revel was granted by the spirit 
of the Saturnalia. 


as well, and on working days too. There is no question about 
this, for in a letter in his own handwriting he says: "I dined, 
dear Tiberius, with the same company; we had besides as 
guests Vinicius and the elder Silius. We gambled like old men 
during the meal both yesterday and to-day; for when the 
dice were thrown, whoever turned up the 'dog* or the six, put 
a denarius in the pool for each one of the dice, and the whole 
was taken by any one who threw the 'Venus.' " x Again in an- 
other letter: "We spent the Quinquatria 2 very merrily, my 
dear Tiberius, for we played all day long and kept the gaming- 
board warm. Your brother made a great outcry about his 
luck, but after all did not come out far behind in the long 
run; for after losing heavily, he unexpectedly and little by 
little got back a good deal. For my part, I lost twenty thou- 
sand sesterces, 3 but because I was extravagantly generous in 
my play, as usual. If I had demanded of every one the stakes 
which I let go, or had kept all that I gave away, I should 
have won fully fifty thousand. But I like that better, for my 
generosity will exalt me to immortal glory." To his daughter 
he writes: "I send you two hundred and fifty denarii, 4 the 
sum which I gave each of my guests, in case they wished to 
play at dice or at odd and even during the dinner." 

In the other details of his life it is generally agreed that he 
was most temperate and without even the suspicion oi any 
vice. He lived at first near the Forum Romanum, above the 
Stairs of the Kingmakers, in a house which had belonged to 
the orator Calvus; afterwards, on the Palatine, but in the no 
less modest dwelling of Hortensius, no way remarkable eithei 
for size or elegance, having but a short colonnade with col- 
umns of Alban stone, 6 and rooms without any marble decora- 
tions or handsome pavements. For more than forty years toe 4 
he used the same bedroom in winter and summer; for al* 
though he found the city unfavorable to his health in the win- 
ter, yet he nevertheless continued to winter there. If ever he 

1 When only aces appeared, the throw was called the "dog"; when 
all the dice turned up different numbers, "Venus." 

2 A five-day festival in March in honor of Minerva. 
8 $820.00. 

* $37-50. 

A gray, volcanic stone, cheaply procured and easily worked* 


planned to do anything in private or without interruption, 
he had a retired place at the top of the house, which he called 
"Syracuse" and "little workshop." In this he used to take 
refuge, or else in the villa of one of his freedmen in the sub- 
urbs. But whenever he was not well, he slept at Maecenas's 
house. For retirement he went most frequently to places by 
the sea and the islands of Campania, or to the towns near 
Rome, such as Lanuvium, Praeneste or Tibur, where he very 
often sat for the administration of justice in the colonnades 
of the Temple of Hercules. He disliked large and sumptuous 
country palaces, actually razing to the ground one which his 
granddaughter Julia built on a lavish scale. His own villas, 
which were modest enough, he decorated not so much with 
tendsome statues and pictures as with terraces, groves, and 
objects noteworthy for their antiquity and rarity; for ex- 
ample, at Capreae the monstrous bones of huge sea monsters 
and wild beasts, called the "bones of the giants," and the 
weapons of ancient heroes. 

The simplicity of his furniture and household goods may 
be seen from couches and tables still in existence, many of 
which are scarcely fine enough for a private citizen. They say 
that he always slept on a low and plainly furnished bed. Ex- 
cept on special occasions he wore common clothes for the 
house, made by his sister, wife, daughter or granddaughters. 
His togas were neither close nor full, his purple stripe neither 
narrow nor broad, and his shoes somewhat high-soled, to make 
him look taller than he really was. But he always kept shoes 
and clothing to wear in public ready in his room for sudden 
and unexpected occasions. ' 

He gave dinner parties constantly and always formally, 
with great regard to the rank and personality of his guests. 
Valerius Messala writes that he never invited a freedman to 
dinner with the exception of Menas, and then only when he 
had been enrolled among the freeborn after betraying the 
fleet of Sextus Pompey. Augustus himself writes that he once 
entertained a man at whose villa he used to stop, who had 
been one of his body-guard. He would sometimes come to 
table late on these occasions and leave early, allowing his 
guests to begin to dine before he took his place and keep their 


places after he went out. He served a dinner of three courses 
or of six when he was most lavish, without needless extrava- 
gance but with the greatest goodfellowship. For he drew into 
the general conversation those who were silent or chatted 
under their breath, and introduced music and actors, or even 
strolling players from the circus, and especially story-tellers. 

Festivals and holidays he celebrated lavishly as a rule, but 
sometimes only with merrymaking. In the Saturnalia, or at 
any other time when the fancy took him, he distributed to 
his company clothes, gold, or silver; sometimes corns of all 
sorts, even of the ancient Kings of Rome and of foreign na- 
tions; sometimes nothing but hair cloth, sponges, pokers and 
tongs, and other such things under names that were enigmatical 
and had a double meaning. He used also at a dinner party to 
put up for auction lottery-tickets for articles of most unequal 
value, and paintings of which only the back was shown, and 
so, by the unknown quality of the lot disappoint or fully 
gratify the expectations of the purchasers. He required, how- 
ever, that all the guests take part in the bidding and share the 
loss or gain. 

He was a light eater (for I would not omit even this de- 
tail) and as a rule ate plain food. He particularly liked coarse 
bread, small fishes, handmade moist cheese, and green figs 
of the second crop; and he would eat even before dinner, 
wherever and whenever he felt hungry. I quote word for word 
from some of his letters: "I ate a little bread and some dates 
in my carriage." And again: "As I was returning home from 
the palace in my litter, I devoured an ounce of bread and a 
few hard-pulped grapes." Once more: "Not even a Jew, my 
dear Tiberius, fasts so scrupulously on his sabbaths as I have 
to-day; for it was not until after the first hour of the night 
that I ate two mouthfuls of bread in the bath before I began 
to be anointed." Because of this irregularity he sometimes 
ate alone either before a dinner party began or after it was 
over, touching nothing while it was in progress. 

He was by nature most sparing also in his use of wine. 
Cornelius Nepos writes that in camp before Mutina it was 
his habit to drink not more than three times at dinner. After- 
wards, when he indulged most freely he never exceeded a 
pint; or if he did, he used to throw it up. He liked Raetian 


wine * best, but rarely drank before dinner. Instead he would 
take a bit of bread soaked in cold water, a slice of cucumber, 
a sprig of young lettuce, or an apple with a tart flavor, either 
fresh or dried. 

After his midday meal he used to rest for a while just as he 
was, without taking off his clothes or his shoes, with his feet 
uncovered and his hand to his eyes. After dinner he went to a 
couch in his study, where he remained to late at night, until 
he had attended to what was left of the day's business, either 
wholly or in great part. Then he went to bed and slept not 
more than seven hours at most, and not even that length of 
time without a break, but waking three or four times. If he 
could not resume his sleep when it was interrupted, as would 
happen, he sent for readers or story-tellers, and when sleep 
came to him he often prolonged it until after daylight. He 
would never lie awake in the dark without having some one 
sit by his side. He detested early rising and when he had to 
get up earlier than usual because of some official or religious 
duty, to avoid inconveniencing himself he spent the night in 
the room of one of his friends near the appointed place. Even 
so, he often suffered from want of sleep, and he would drop 
off while he was being carried through the streets and when 
his litter was set down because of some delay. 

In person he was unusually handsome and exceedingly 
graceful at all periods of his life, though he cared nothing for 
personal adornment. Ha was so far from being particular 
about the dressing of his hair, that he would have several 
barbers working in a hurry at the same time, and as for his 
beard he now had it clipped and now shaved, while at the 
very same time he would either be reading or writing some- 
thing. His expression, whether in conversation or when he 
was silent, was so calm and mild, that one of the leading men 
of the Gallic provinces admitted to his countrymen that it 
had softened his heart, and kept him from carrying out his 
design of pushing the Emperor over a cliff, when he had been 
allowed to approach him under the pretense of a conference, 
as he was crossing the Alps. He had clear, bright eyes, in 
which he liked to have it thought that there was a kind of di- 

1 A wine of great reputation from the foot of the Rhaetian Alps. 


vine power, and it greatly pleased him, whenever he looked 
keenly at any one, if he let his face fall as if before the radi* 
ance of the sun. But in his old age he could not see very weU 
with his left eye. His teeth were wide apart, small and ill-kept 
His hair was slightly curly and inclining to golden. His eye* 
brows met. His ears wers of moderate size, and his nose pro- 
jected a little at the top and then bent slightly inward. 1 His 
complexion was between dark and fair. He was short of stature 
(although Julius Marathus, his freedman and keeper of his 
records, says that he was five feet and nine inches in height 2 )* 
but this was concealed by the fine proportion and symmetry 
of his figure, and was noticeable only by comparison with 
some taller person standing beside him. 

It is said that his body was covered with spots and that he 
had birthmarks scattered over his breast and belly, corre- 
sponding in form, order and number with the stars of the 
Bear in the heavens ; 8 a!so numerous callous places resem- 
bling ringworm, caused by a constant itching of his body and 
a vigorous use of the strigil. 4 He was not very strong in his 
left hip, thigh, and leg, and even limped slightly at times; but 
he strengthened them by treatment with sand and reeds. 5 He 
sometimes found the forefinger of his right hand so weak, 
when it was numb and shrunken with the cold, that he could 
hardly use it for writing even with the aid of a finger-stall of 
horn. He complained of his bladder too, and was relieved of 
the pain only after passing stones in his urine. 

In the course of his life he suffered from several severe and 
dangerous illnesses, especially after the subjugation of Can- 
tabria, when he was in such a desperate plight from abscesses 
of the liver, that he was forced to submit to an unprecedented 
and hazardous course of treatment. Since hot fomentations 
gave him no relief, he was led by the advice of his physician 
Antonius Musa to try cold ones. 

He experienced also some disorders which recurred every 

* The so-called "Romin nose." 

2 Roman measure. A little less than five feet seven inches English. 
8 The Great Dipper. 

4 An instrument of metal not unlike a curry-comb used in the bth| 
for scraping the body. 
fl Apparently in a sort of poultice. -- - '. ; :. . : 


year at definite times; for he was commonly ailing just before 
his birthday; and at the beginning of spring he was troubled 
with an enlargement of the diaphragm, and when the wind 
was in the south, with catarrh. Hence his constitution was so 
weakened that he could not readily endure either cold or heat. 

In the winter he protected himself with four tunics and a 
heavy toga, besides an undershirt, a woolen chest-protector 
and wraps for his thighs and shins, while in summer he slept 
with the doors of his bedroom open, oftentimes in the open 
court near a fountain, besides having some one to fan him. 
Yet he could not endure the sun even in winter, and never 
walked in the 0pen air without wearing a broad-brimmed hat, 
even at home. He traveled in a litter, usually at night, and by 
such slow and easy stages that he took two days to go to 
Praeneste or Tibur. If he could reach his destination by sea, 
he preferred to sail. Yet in spite of all he made good his weak- 
ness by great care, especially by moderation in bathing; for 
as a rule he was anointed or took a sweat by a fire, after which 
he was doused with water either lukewarm or tepid from long 
exposure to the sun. When however he had to use hot salt 
water and sulphur baths for rheumatism, he contented him- 
self with sitting on a wooden bath-seat, which he called by 
the Spanish name dureta, and plunging his hands and feet in 
the water one after the other. 

Immediately after the civil war he gave up exercise with 
horses and arms in the Campus Martius, at first turning to 
pass-ball and balloon-ball, but soon confining himself to rid- 
ing or taking a walk, ending the latter by running and leap- 
ing, wrapped in a mantle or a blanket. To divert his mind he 
sometimes angled and sometimes played at dice, marbles and 
nuts * with little boys, searching everywhere for such as were 
attractive for their pretty faces or their prattle, especially 
Syrians and Moors; for he abhorred dwarfs, cripples, and 
everything of that sort, as freaks of nature and of ill omen. 

From early youth he devoted himself eagerly and with the 
utmost diligence to oratory and liberal studies. During the 
war at Mutina, amid such a press of affairs, he is said to have 
read, written and declaimed every day. In fact he never after* 

1 The Romans had many games that were played with nuts. 


wards spoke in the Senate, or to the people or the soldiers, 
except in a studied and written address, although he did not 
lack the gift of speaking offhand without preparation. More- 
over, to avoid the danger of forgetting what he was to say, 
or wasting time in committing it to memory, he adopted the 
practice of reading everything from a manuscript. Even his 
conversations with individuals and the more important of 
those with his own wife Livia, he always wrote out and read 
from a notebook, for fear of saying too much or too little if 
he spoke offhand. He had an agreeable and rather characteris- 
tic enunciation, and he practiced constantly with a teacher of 
elocution; but sometimes because of weakness of the throat 
he addressed the people through a herald. 

He wrote numerous works of various kinds in prose, some 
of which he read to a group of his intimate friends, as one 
might in a lecture-room; for example, his "Reply to Brutui/ 
on Cato." At the reading of these volumes he had all but come 
to the end, when he grew tired and handed them to Tiberius 
to finish, for he was well on in years. He also wrote "Exhorta- 
tions to Philosophy" and some volumes of an Autobiography, 
giving an account of his life in thirteen books up to the time 
of the Cantabrian war, but no farther. His essays in poetry 
were but slight. One book has come down to us written in 
hexameter verse, of which the subject and the title is "Sicily." 
There is another, equally brief, of "Epigrams," which he com- 
posed for the most part while he was in his bath. Though he 
began a tragedy with much enthusiasm, he destroyed it be- 
cause his style did not satisfy him, and when some of his 
friends asked him what in the world had become of Ajax, 
he answered that "his Ajax had fallen on his sponge." 1 

He cultivated a style of speaking that was chaste and ele- 
gant, avoiding the vanity of attempts at epigram and an 
artificial order, and as he himself expresses it, "the noisome- 
ness of far-fetched words," making it his chief aim to express 
his thought as clearly as possible. With this end in view, to 
avoid confusing and checking his reader or hearer at any 
point, he did not hesitate to use prepositions with names of 
cities, nor to repeat conjunctions several times, the omission 

1 Ajax is said to have perished by falling upon his sword. 


of which causes some obscurity, though it adds grace. He 
looked on innovators and archaizers with equal contempt, 
as faulty in opposite directions, and he sometimes had a fling 
at them, in particular his friend Maecenas, whose "unguent- 
dripping curls,*' as he calls them, he loses no opportunity of 
belaboring and pokes fun at them by parody. He did not spare 
even Tiberius, who sometimes hunted up obsolete and pedantic 
expressions; and as for Mark Antony, he calls him a mad- 
man, for writing rather to be admired than to be understood. 
Then going on to ridicule his perverse and inconsistent taste in 
choosing an oratorical style, he adds the following: "Can you 
doubt whether you ought to imitate Annius Cimber or Ve- 
ranius Flaccus, that you use the words which Sallustis Crispus 
gleaned from Cato's Origines? Or would you rather introduce 
into our tongue the verbose and unmeaning fluency of the 
Asiatic orators?" And in a letter praising the talent of his 
granddaughter Agrippina he writes: "But you must take great 
care not to write and talk affectedly." 

That in his everyday conversation he used certain favorite 
and peculiar expressions appears from letters in his own hand, 
in which he says every now and then, when he wishes to indi- 
cate that certain men will never pay, that "they will pay on 
the Greek Kalends." 1 Urging his correspondent to put up 
with present circumstances, such as they are, he says: "Let's 
be satisfied with the Cato we have"; and to express the speed 
of a hasty action, "Quicker than you can cook asparagus." 
He continually used baceolus (dolt) for stultus (fool), for 
pullus (dark) pulleiaceus (darkish), and for cerritus (mad) 
vacerrosus (blockhead); also vapide se habere (feel flat) for 
male se habere (feel badly), and betizare (be like a beet) for 
languere (be weak), for which the vulgar term is lachani- 
zare? Besides he used simus for sumus and domos in the geni- 
tive singular instead of domuos. The last two forms he wrote 
invariably, for fear they should be thought errors rather 
than a habit. 

I have also observed this special peculiarity in his manner 

1 That is, never, for the Greeks had nothing corresponding to the 
Roman Kalends. 

2 All these words which Augustus is said to have used are colloquial- 
isms or slang of his day. 


of writing: he does not divide words or carry superfluous let- 
ters from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, 
but writes them just below the rest of the word and draws a 
loop around them. 

He does not strictly comply with orthography, that is to 
say the theoretical rules of spelling laid down by the gram- 
marians, seeming to be rather of the mind of those who be- 
lieve that we should spell exactly as we pronounce. Of course 
his frequent transposition or omission of syllables as well as 
of letters are slips common to all mankind. I should not have 
noted this, did it not seem to me surprising that some have 
written that he cashiered a consular Governor, as an uncul- 
tivated and ignorant fellow, because he observed that he had 
written ixi for ipsi. Whenever he wrote in cipher, he wrote 
B for A, C for B, and the rest of the letters on the same prin- 
ciple, using AA for X. 

He was equally interested in Greek studies, and in these, 
too, he greatly excelled. His teacher of declamation was Apol- 
lodorus of Pergamon, whom he even took with him in his 
youthful days from Rome to Apollonia, though Apollodorus 
was an old man at the time. Later he became versed in various 
forms of learning through association with the philosopher 
Areus and his sons Dionysius and Nicanor. Yet he never 
acquired the ability to speak Greek fluently or to compose 
anything in it; for if he had occasion to use the language, 
he wrote what he had to say in Latin and gave it to some 
one else to translate. Still he was far from being ignorant 
of Greek poetry, even taking great pleasure in the Old 
Comedy and frequently staging it at his public entertain- 
ments. In reading the writers of both tongues there was noth- 
ing for which he looked so carefully as precepts and examples 
instructive to the public or to individuals. These he would 
often copy word for word, and send to the members of his 
household, or to his Generals and provincial Governors, when- 
ever any of them required admonition. He even read entire 
volumes to the Senate and called the attention of the people 
to them by proclamations; for example, the speeches of 
Quintus Metellus "On Increasing the Family," and of Ru- 
tilius "On the Height of Buildings"; to convince them that 


he was not the first to give attention to such matters, but 
that they aroused the interest even of their forefathers. 

He gave every encouragement to the men of talent of his 
own age, listening with courtesy and patience to their read- 
ings, not only of poetry and history, but of speeches and 
dialogues as well. But he took offense at being made the 
subject of any composition except in serious earnest and by 
the most eminent writers, often charging the Praetors not 
to let his name be cheapened in prize declamations. 

This is what we are told of his attitude towards matters 
of religion. 1 He was somewhat weak in his fear of thunder 
and lightning, for he always carried a seal-skin about with 
him everywhere as a protection, and at any sign of a violent 
storm took refuge in an underground vaulted room; 2 for as 
I have said 3 he was once badly frightened by a narrow escape 
from lightning during a journey by night. 

He was not indifferent to his own dreams or to those which 
others dreamed about him. At the battle of Philippi, though 
he had made up his mind not to leave his tent because of 
illness, he did so after all when warned by a friend's dream; 
fortunately, as it turned out, for his camp was taken and 
when the enemy rushed in, his litter was stabbed through 
and through and torn to pieces, in the belief that he was 
i$till lying there ill. All through the spring his own dreams 
were very numerous and fearful, but idle and unfulfilled; 
during the rest of the year they were less frequent and more 
reliable. Being in the habit of making constant visits to the 
temple of Jupiter the Thunderer, which he had founded on 
the Capitol, he dreamed that Jupitei Capitolinus complained 
that his worshipers were being taken from him, and that he 
answered that he had placed the Thunderer hard by to be 
his doorkeeper. He therefore soon after festooned the gable 
of the temple with bells, because these commonly hung at 
house-doors. It was likewise because of a dream that every 

1 Religiones: which for the Roman included religious belief as we 
still know it, and especially regard for omens and portents, 

2 Pliny (Natural History II, 55) says that lightning never goes more 
than five feet below the ground, and also that the laurel tree and the 
seal are never struck by it. 

See Gains Caligula. 


year on an appointed day he begged alms of the people, 
holding out his open hand to have pennies dropped in it. 

Certain auspices and omens he regarded as infallible. If 
his shoes were put on in the wrong way in the morning, the 
left instead of the right, he considered it a bad sign. If there 
chanced to be a drizzle of rain when ^e was starting on a long 
journey by land or sea, he thought it a good omen, betoken- 
ing a speedy and prosperous return. But he was especially 
affected by prodigies. When a palm tree 1 sprang up between 
the crevices of the pavement before his house, he trans- 
planted it to the inner court beside his household Gods and 
took great pains to make it grow. He was so pleased that 
the branches of an old oak, which had already drooped to 
the ground and were withering, became vigorous again on his 
arrival in the island of Capri, that he arranged with the city 
of Naples to give him the island in exchange for Aenaria. 
He also had regard to certain days, refusing ever to begin a 
journey on the day after a market day, 2 or to take up any 
important business on the Nones; 3 though in the latter case, 
as he writes to Tiberius, he merely dreaded the unlucky 
sound of the name. 

He treated with great respect such foreign rites as were 
ancient and well established, but held the rest in contempt. 
For example, having been initiated at Athens 4 and after- 
wards sitting in judgment of a case at Rome involving the 
privileges of the priests of Ceres, in which certain matters of 
secrecy were brought up, he dismissed his councilors and the 
throng of bystanders and heard the disputants in private. But 
on the other hand he not only omitted to make a slight detour 
to visit Apis, when he was traveling through Egypt, but 

1 If this is true, winters in Rome in Augustus* time must have been 
much milder than they now are. 

2 The Roman month was divided into periods of eight days, lettered 
in the calendar A to H. On the last of these, every ninth day according 
to the Roman reckoning, a market and fair was held at Rome, and 
many people came in from the country. It was not till near the reign 
of Severus that the Romans began to divide their time into weeks, ai 
we do, in imitation of the Jews. 

8 Ninth day before the Ides. 

4 Into the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ceres. 


highly commended his grandson Gaius for not offering prayers 
at Jerusalem as he passed by Judaea, 1 

Having reached this point, it will not be out of place to add 
an account of the omens which occurred before he was born, 
on the very day of his birth, and afterwards, from which it 
was possible to anticipate and perceive his future greatness 
and uninterrupted good fortune. 

In ancient days, when a part of the wall of Velitrae had 
been struck by lightning, the prediction was made that a 
citizen of that town would one day rule the world. Through 
their confidence in this the people of Velitrae had at once 
made war on the Roman people and fought with them many 
times after that almost to their utter destruction ; but at last 
long afterward the event proved that the omen had foretold 
the rule of Augustus. 

According to Julius Marathus, a few months before Augus- 
tus was born a portent was generally observed at Rome, 
which gave warning that nature was pregnant with a King 
for the Roman people. Thereupon the Senate in consterna- 
tion decreed that no male child born that year should be 
reared. But those whose wives were with child saw to it 
that the decree was not filed in the treasury, 2 since each one 
appropriated the prediction to his own family. 

I have read the following story in the books of Asclepias 
of Mendes entitled "Discourses about the Gods." When Atia 8 
had come in the middle of the night to the solemn service 
of Apollo, she had her Ktter set down in the temple and fell 
asleep, while the rest of the matrons also slept. On a sudden 
a serpent 4 glided up to her and shortly went away. When 
she awoke, she puraied herself, as if after the embraces of 
her husband, and at once there appeared on her body a mark 
in the form and colors of a serpent, which she never after 
could efface, and which obliged -her, during the subsequent 
part of her life, to forego the use of the public baths. In the 

1 Augustus' attitude toward the Jews was favorable. 

2 The decree was not complete until this was done. 
8 The mother of Augustus. 

4 The familiar spirit or genius was often represented by a serpent, 
and those of husband and wife by two serpents, as we may see in 
Pompeian frescoes. 


tenth month after that Augustus was born and was therefore 
regarded as the son of Apollo. Atia too, before she gave him 
birth, dreamed that her vitals were borne up to the stars 
and spread over the whole extent of land and sea, while 
Octavius, his father, dreamed that the sun rose from Atia's 

The day be was born the conspiracy of Catiline was before 
the House, and Octavius came late because of his wife's con- 
finement. Whereupon Publius Nigidius, as every one knows, 
learning the reason for his tardiness and being informed also 
of the hour of the birth, declared that the ruler of the world 
had been born. Later, when Octavius was leading an army 
through remote parts of Thrace, and in the grove of Father 
Bacchus consulted the priests about his son according to the 
barbarians' rites, they made the same prediction; since such 
a pillar of flame sprang forth from the wine that was poured 
over the altar, that it rose above the temple roof and mounted 
to the very sky. Such an omen had befallen no one save 
Alexander the Great, when he offered sacrifice at the same 
altar. Moreover, the very next night he dreamt that his son 
appeared to him in a guise more majestic than that of mortal 
man, with the thunderbolt, scepter, and insignia of Jupiter 
Optimus Maximus, wearing a crown begirt with rays and 
mounted upon a laurel-wreathed chariot drawn by twelve 
horses of surpassing whiteness. 

When Augustus was still an infant, as is recorded by the 
hand of Gaius Drusus, he was placed by his nurse at evening 
in his cradle on the ground floor and the next morning had 
disappeared. After long search he was at last discovered on 
a lofty tower, lying with his face towards the rising sun 
As soon as he began to talk, it chanced that the frogs were 
making a great noise at his grandfather's country place. He 
bade them be silent, and they say that since then no frog has 
ever croaked there. As he was breakfasting in a grove at the 
fourth milestone on the Campanian road, an eagle surprised 
him by snatching his bread from His hand, and after flying 
to a great height, equally to his surprise dropped gently down 
again and gave it back to him. 

Quintus Catulus,^ after he had dedicated the Capitol, 
dreamed two nights in succession. The first night/he dreamed 


that Jupiter Optimus Maximus, out of a group of boys of good 
family who were playing about his altar, called aside one 
and put the public seal of the commonwealth which he car- 
ried in his hand in the lap of the boy's toga. The next night 
he dreamt that he saw this same boy in the lap of Jupiter of 
the Capitol, and that when he ordered that he be removed, 
the God warned him to desist, declaring that the boy was 
being reared to be the savior of his country. When Catulus 
next day met Augustus, whom he had never seen before, he 
looked at him in great surprise and said that he was very 
like the boy of whom he had dreamed. Some give a different 
account of Catulus's first dream, namely, that Jupiter, when 
a group of well-born children requested him for a tutor, 
pointed out one of their number, to whom they were to sub- 
mit all their requests, and then, after lightly touching the 
boy's mouth with his fingers, laid them on his own lips. 

As Marcus Cicero was once attending Gaius Caesar to the 
Capitol, he happened to tell his friends a dream which he had 
had the night before, in which a boy of noble countenance 
was let down from heaven on a golden chain and, standing 
at the door of the temple, was given a whip by Jupiter. Just 
chen suddenly catching sight of Augustus, who was still un- 
known to the greater number of those present and had been 
brought to the ceremony by his uncle Caesar, he declared 
that he was the very one whose form had appeared to him in 
his dream. 

When Augustus was assuming the gown of manhood, his 
senatorial tunic 1 becoming loose in the seam on each side, 
fell at his feet, which some interpreted as a sure sign that the 
order of which the tunic was the badge 2 would one day be 
brought to his feet. 

As the Deified Julius was cutting down a wood at Munda 
and preparing a place for his camp, coming acrtfss a palm 
tree, he caused it to be spared as an omen of victory. From 
this a shoot at once sprang forth and in a few days grew so 
great that it not only equalled the parent tree, but even over- 

1 Augustus was not yet a Senator, but the privilege of wearing the 
broad purple stripe, which distinguished the gown of the Senators, 
was doubtless one of the honors conferred on him by Caesar. 
, the Senate. 


shadowed it. Many doves, moreover, built their nests there, 
although that kind of bird especially avoids hard and rough 
foliage. Indeed, it was that omen in particular, they say, that 
led Caesar to wish that none other than his sister's grandson 
should be his successor. 

While in retirement at Apollonia, Augustus mounted with 
Agrippa to the studio of the astrologer Theogenes. Agrippa 
was the first to try his fortune, and when a great and almost 
incredible career was predicted for him, Augustus chose not 
to disclose the time of his own birth, and persisted for some 
time in the refusal, from a mixture of shame and fear lest 
he be predicted less eminent. When he at last gave it unwill- 
ingly and hesitatingly, and only after many urgent requests, 
Theogenes sprang up and threw himself at his feet. From 
that time on Augustus had such faith in his destiny, that he 
made his horoscope public and issued a silver coin stamped 
with the sign of the constellation Capricornus, under which he 
was born. 

As he was entering the city on his return from Apollonia 
after Caesar's death, though the heaven was clear and cloud- 
less, a circle like a rainbow suddenly formed around the 
sun's disc, and straightway the tomb of Caesar's daughter 
Julia was struck by lightning. Again, as he was taking the 
auspices in his first consulship, twelve vultures appeared to 
him, as to Romulus, and when he slew the victims, the livers 
within all of them were found to be double at the lower end, 
which all those who were skilled in such matters unanimously 
declared to be an omen of a great and happy future. 

He even divined beforehand the outcome of all his wars, 
When the forces of the Triumvirs were assembled at Bononia, 
an eagle that had perched upon his tent made a dash at two 
ravens, which attacked it on either side, and struck them to 
the ground. From this the whole army inferred that there 
would one day be discord among the colleagues, as actually 
came to pass, and divined its result. As he was on his way to 
Philippi, a Thessalian gave him notice of his coming victory 
on the authority of the deified Caesar, whose shade had met 
him on a lonely road. When he was sacrificing at Perusia 
without getting a favorable omen, and so had ordered more 
victims to be brought, the enemy made a sudden sally and 


carried off all the equipment of the sacrifice. Whereupon 
the soothsayers agreed that all the dangers and disasters 
with which the sacrificer had been threatened would recoil 
on the heads of those who were in possession of the entrails. 
And so it turned out. As he was walking on the shore the day 
before the sea-fight off Sicily, a fish sprang from the sea and 
fell at his feet. At Actium, as he was going down to begin the 
battle, he met an ass with his driver, the man having the 
name Eutychus * and the beast that of Nicon. 2 And after 
the victory he set up bronze images of the two in the sacred 
enclosure into which he converted the side of his camp. 

His death, too, of which I shall speak next, and hk deifica- 
tion after death, were known in advance by unmistakable 
signs. As he was bringing the lustrum 8 to an end in the 
Campus Martius before a great throng of people, an eagle 
flew several times about him and then going across to the 
temple hard by, perched above the first letter of Agrippa's 
name. On noticing this, Augustus bade his colleague Tiberius 
recite the vows which it is usual to make for the next five 
years; for although he had them prepared and written out 
on a tablet, he declared that he would not be responsible for 
vows which he should never accomplish. At about the same 
time the first letter of his name was melted from the inscrip- 
tion on one of his statues by a flash of lightning. This was 
interpreted to mean that he would live only a hundred days 
from that time, the number indicated by the letter C, and 
that he would be numbered with the gods, since acsar (that 
is, the part of the name Caesar which was left) is the word 
for god in the Etruscan tongue. 

Then, too, when he was on the point of sending Tiberius to 
Illyricum and was proposing to escort him as far as Bene- 
ventum, and litigants detained him on the judgment seat by 
bringing forward case after case, he cried out that he would 
stay no longer in Rome, even if everything conspired to de- 
lay him and this too was afterwards looked upon as one 

1 Prosper. 

* Victor. 

t 8 The sacrifice of purification made every five years by one of the 
Censors after the taking of the census. A pig, a sheep; 'and bull were 
sacrificed. - . *' * : 


of the omens of his death. So entered upon his journey, he 
went on as far as Astura * and from there, contrary to his 
custom, took ship by night since it chanced that there was 
a favorable breeze, and thus contracted an illness beginning 
with diarrhoea. 

Then after skirting the coast of Campania and the neigh- 
boring islands, he spent four more days at his villa in Capri, 
where he gave himself up wholly to rest and social diver- 
sions. As he sailed by the gulf of Puteoli, it happened that 
from an Alexandrian ship which had just arrived there, the 
passengers and crew, clad in white, crowned with garlands, 
and burning incense, lavished upon him good wishes and the 
highest praise, saying that it was through him they lived, 
through him that they sailed the seas, and through him that 
they enjoyed their liberty and their fortunes. Exceedingly 
pleased at this, he gave forty gold pieces to each of his com- 
panions, exacting from every one of them a pledge under 
oath not to spend the sum that had been given them in any 
other way than in b jying wares from Alexandria. More than 
that, for the several remaining days of his stay, among little 
presents of various kinds, he distributed togas and pallia 2 
as well, stipulating that the Romans should use the Greek 
dress and language and the Greeks the Romans. He con- 
tinually watched the exercises of the ephebi, 8 of whom there 
was still a goodly number at Capri, according to the ancient 
usage. He also gave these youths a banquet at. which he 
himself was present, and not only allowed, but even required 
perfect freedom in jesting and in scrambling for tickets for 
fruit, dainties and all kinds of things, which he threw to 
them. In short, there was no form of gayety in which he did 
not indulge. 

The neighboring part of the island of Capri he called "City 
of Do-littles," from the indolent life which some of his 
party led there. Besides he used to call one of his favorites, 

1 On the road to Naples. 

2 The pallium corresponded to the himation, the distinctive garment 
of the Greeks, as the toga of the Romans. 

8 Greek youths between the ages of 18 and that of full citizenship, 
who had regular gymnastic training as a part of their education. 


Masgaba by name, Ktistes, 1 as if he were the founder of the 
island. Noticing from his dining-room that the tomb of this 
Masgaba, who had died the year before, was visited by a 
large crowd with many torches, he uttered aloud this verse, 
composed offhand: 2 

"I see the founder's tomb alight with fire"; 

and turning to Thrasyllus, one of the suite of Tiberius who 
was reclining opposite him and knew nothing about the mat- 
ter, he asked of what poet he thought it was the work. When 
Thrasyllus hesitated, he added another verse: 

"See you with lights Masgaba honored now?" 

and asked his opinion of this one also. When Thrasyllus 
could say nothing except that they were very good, whoever 
made them, he burst into a laugh and fell a joking about it. 

Presently he crossed over to Naples, although his bowels 
were still weak from intermittent attacks. In spite of this he 
witnessed an exhibition of the gymnastic games which were 
performed in his honor every five years, and then started 
with Tiberius for his destination. But as he was returning 
his illness increased and he at last took to his bed at Nola, 
calling back Tiberius, who was on his way to Illyricum, and 
keeping him for a long time in private conversation, after 
which he gave attention to no business of importance. 

On the last day of his life he asked every now and then 
whether there was any disturbance without on his account. 
He then called for a mirror and had his hair combed and his 
falling jaws set straight. 3 After that, calling in his friends 
and asking whether* it seemed to them that he had played 
the comedy of life fitly, he added the tag: 

"Since IVe played well, with joy your voices raise 
And from the stage dismiss me with your praise." 4 

1 Greek name for the founder of a city or colony. 

2 In Greek, as also the next verse. 

* As though from weakness he could not keep his mouth closed. 

* It was customary at the end of comedies to call for applause. 


Then he sent them all off, and while he was asking some new* 
comers from the city about the daughter of Drusus, who was 
ill, suddenly, amidst the kisses of Livia, he passed away, 
uttering these last words: "Live mindful of our wedlock, 
Livia, and farewell." Thus was he blessed with an easy death 
and such a one as he had always longed for. For almost al- 
ways on hearing that any one had died swiftly and painlessly, 
he prayed that he and his might have a like euthanasia, for 
that was the term he was wont to use. He gave but one single 
sign of wandering before he breathed his last, calling out in 
sudden terror that forty young men were carrying him off. 
And even this was rather a premonition than a delusion, 
since it was that very number of soldiers of the pretorian 
guard that carried him forth to lie in state. 

He died in the same room as his father Octavius had died, 
when the two Sextuses, Pompeius and Appuleius, were Con- 
suls, on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September 
at the ninth hour, just thirty-five days before his seventy- 
sixth birthday. 

His body was carried by the Senators of the municipalities 
and colonies from Nola all the way to Bovillae, in the night 
time because of the season of the year, being placed by day 
in the basilica of the town at which they arrived or in its 
principal temple. 1 At Bovillae the members of the eques- 
trian order 2 met it and bore it to the city, where they placed 
it in the vestibule of his house. 

The Senate proceeded with so much zeal in the arrangement 
of his funeral, and paying honor to his memory, that, among 
many other suggestions, some proposed that his cortege pass 
through the triumphal gate, preceded by the statue of Vic- 
tory which stands in the House, while a dirge was sung by 
children of both sexes belonging to the leading families. 
Others proposed that on the day of the obsequies golden 
rings be laid aside and iron ones worn ; and others, that his 
ashes be collected by the priests of the highest colleges. One 
man proposed that the name of the month of August be trans- 
ferred to September, because Augustus was born in the lat- 

1 An especial .honor, for it was against Roman custom and law to 
bring a dead body into a sacred place for fear of polluting it. 
See The Deified Claudius. 


ter, but died in the former; another, that all the period from 
the day of his birth until his demise be called the Augustan 
Age, and so entered in the Calendar. But though a limit was 
set to the honors paid him, his eulogy was twice delivered: 
before the temple of the Deified Julius by Tiberius, and from 
the old rostra by Drusus, son of Tiberius. The body was 
then carried on the shoulders of Senators to the Campus 
Martius and there cremated. There was even an ex-praetor 
who took oath that he had seen the form of the Emperor, 
after he had been reduced to ashes, on its way to heaven. 
His remains were gathered up by the leading men of the 
equestrian order, bare-footed and in ungirt tunics, and placed 
in the Mausoleum. This structure he had built in his sixth 
consulship between the Via Flaminia and the bank of the 
Tiber, and at the same time opened to the public the groves 
and walks by which it was surrounded. 

He had made a will in the consulship of Lucius Plancus 
and Gaius Silius on the third day before the Nones of April, 
a year and four months before he died, in two note-books, 
written in part in his own hand and in part in that of his 
freedmen Polybius and Hilarion. These the Vestal Virgins, 
with whom they had been deposited, now produced, together 
with three rolls, which were sealed in the same way. All these 
were opened and read in the Senate. He appointed as his chief 
heirs Tiberius, to receive two-thirds of the estate, and Livia, 
one-third; these he also bade assume his name. His heirs in 
the second degree were Drusus, son of Tiberius, for one- 
third, and Germanicus and his three sons for the rest. In the 
third grade he mentioned many of his relatives and friends. 
He left to the Roman people forty million sesterces; l to the 
tribes three million five hundred thousand each; to the sol- 
diers of the pretorian guard a thousand each; and to the 
legionaries three hundred. This sum he ordered to be paid 
at once; for he had always kept the amount at hand and ready 
for the purpose. He gave other legacies to various individuals, 
some amounting to as much as twenty thousand sesterces, 
and provided for the payment of these a year later, giving 
as his excuse for the delay the small amount of his property, 

1 $1,640,000.00, taking .04 i-io as equivalent to the sestertius. 


and declaring that not more than a hundred and fifty mil- 
lions would come to his heirs. For, though he had received 
fourteen hundred millions during the last twenty years from 
the wills of his friends, he said that he had spent nearly all 
of it, as well as his two paternal estates * and his other in- 
heritances, for the benefit of the State. He gave orders that 
his daughter and his granddaughter Julia should not be put 
in his Mausoleum, if anything befell them. 2 In one of the 
three rolls he included directions for his funeral ; in the sec- 
ond, an account of what he had accomplished, which he de- 
sired to have cut upon bronze tablets and set up at the 
entrance to the Mausoleum; 3 in the third, a summary of the 
condition of the whole empire ; how many soldiers there were 
in active service in all parts of it, how much money there was 
in the public treasury and in the privy-purse, and what rev- 
enues were in arrears. He added, besides, the names of the 
freedmen and slaves from whom the details could be de- 

1 Those of his father Octavius, and his father by adoption, Julius 

2 The common euphemism for, when they died. 

3 The original of this inscription is lost, but the greater part of a 
copy inscribed in Greek and Latin on marble is preserved at Ancyra 
in Asia Minor and is known as the Monument urn Ancyranum. 



THE patrician branch of the Claudian family (for there 
was, besides, a plebeian branch of no less influence and pres- 
tige) came originally from Regilli, a town of the Sabines. From 
there it moved to Rome shortly after the founding of the city 
with a large band of dependents, through the influence of 
Titus Tatius, who shared the kingly power with Romulus; or, 
perhaps, according to better authority, under Atta Claudius, 
the head of the family, about six years after the expulsion of 
the Kings. 1 It was admitted among the patrician families, re- 
ceiving, besides, from the State a piece of land beyond the 
river Anio for its dependents, and a burial-site for the family 
at the fooi of the Capitoline hill. After this period, as time 
went on it was honored with twenty-eight consulships, five 
dictatorships, seven censorships, six triumphs, and two ova- 
tions. While the members of the family were known by vari- 
ous forenames and surnames, 2 they by common consent dis- 
carded the forename Lucius after two of the family who bore 
it had been found guilty, the one of highway robbery, and the 
other of murder. To their surnames, on the other hand, they 
added that of Nero, which in the Sabine tongue means "strong 
and valiant." 

There are on record many distinguished services of the 
Claudii to their country, as well as many deeds of the opposite 
character. But to mention only the principal instances, Appius 
Claudius advised against forming an alliance with King 
Pyrrhus as not at all expedient. Claudius Caudex was the 

1 The Tarquins. 

2 The Romans had commonly three names: (i) the praenomen 
designated the individual; (2) the nomen marked the gens; (3) the 
cognomen came last and marked the familia. Sometimes there was a 
fourth name, properly called the agnomen, but sometimes likewise 
cognomen, which was added on account of some illustrious action. 



first to cross the straits with a fleet, and drove the Carthagini- 
ans from Sicily. Tiberius Nero crushed Hasdrubal, on his ar- 
rival from Spain with a vast army, before he could unite with 
his brother Hannibal. On the other hand, Claudius Regil- 
lianus, Decemvir for codifying the laws, through his lawless at- 
tempt to enslave a f reeborn maid, to gratify his passion for her, 
was the cause of the second secession of the plebeians from the 
patricians. Claudius Russus, having set up his statue at 
Forum Appi * with a crown upon its head, tried to take posses- 
sion of Italy through his dependents. Claudius Pulcher began 
a sea-fight off Sicily, though the sacred chickens would not 
eat when he took the auspices, throwing them into the sea in 
defiance of the omen, and saying that they might drink, since 
they would not eat. He was defeated, and on being bidden by 
the Senate to appoint a Dictator, he appointed his messenger 
Glycias, as if again making a jest of his country's peril. 

The women also have records equally diverse, since both 
the famous Claudias belonged to that family: the one who 
drew the ship freighted with things sacred to the Idaean 
Mother of the Gods 2 from the shoal in the Tiber on which it 
was stranded, after first publicly praying that it might yield 
to her efforts only if her chastity were beyond question ; and 
the one who was convicted by the people of treason, an un- 
precedented thing in the case of a woman, because when her 
carriage made but slow progress through the throng, she 
openly gave vent to the wish that her brother Pulcher might 
come to life and lose another fleet, to make less of a crowd 
in Rome. It is notorious besides that all the Claudii were aris- 
tocrats and staunch upholders of the prestige and influence 
of the patricians, with the sole exception of Publius Clodius, 
who for the sake of driving Cicero from the city had himself 
adopted by a plebeian and one too who was younger than 
himself. 8 Their attitude towards the commons was so head- 
strong and stubborn that not even when on trial for his life 
before the people did any one of them deign to put on mourn- 

1 An ancient Latin town in the Via Appia, the present road to Naples. 

2 Cybele, a Phrygian goddess worshiped near Mount Ida. In 204 
B.C. her cult was introduced into Rome where she was worshiped as 
Magna Mater, "Mother of the Gods." 

8 Mentioned also in Julius. 


ing or beg for mercy; and some of them during bickerings 
and disputes struck the Tribunes of the Commons. A Vestal 
Virgin likewise of the family, when her brother was resolved 
to have the honor of a triumph contrary to the will of the 
people, mounted the chariot with him, and attended him into 
the Capitol, in order to make it an act of sacrilege for any one 
of the Tribunes to forbid him or interpose his veto. 

Such was the stock from which Tiberius Caesar derived his 
origin, and that too on both sides: on his father's from Tiberius 
Nero; on his mother's from Appius Pulcher, both of whom 
were sons of Appius Caecus. He was a member also of the 
family of the Livii, through the adoption into it of his mater- 
nal grandfather. This family too, though of plebeian origin, 
was yet of great prominence and had been honored with eight 
consulships, two censorships, and three triumphs, as well as 
with the offices of Dictator and Master of the Horse. It was 
made illustrious too by distinguished members, in particular 
Salinator and the Drusi. The former in his censorship branded 
all the tribes l for their inconstancy because having convicted 
and fined him after a previous consulship, they made him 
Consul a second time and Censor as well. Drusus gained a 
surname for himself and his descendants by slaying Drausus, 
leader of the enemy, in single combat. It is also said that 
when Propraetor he brought back from his province of Gaul 
the gold which was paid long before to the Senones, when they 
beleaguered the Capitol, and that this had not been wrested 
from them by Camillus, as tradition has it. His grandson's 
grandson, called "Patron of the Senate" because of his dis- 
tinguished services against the Gracchi, left a son who was 
treacherously slain by the party of his opponents, while he } 
was busily agitating many plans during a similar dissension. 

Nero, the father of Tiberius, as Quaestor of Julius Caesar 
during the Alexandrian war and commander of a fleet, con- 
tributed materially to the victory. For this he was made Pon- 
tiff in place of Publius Scipio and sent to conduct colonies to 
Gaul, among them Narbonne and Aries. Yet after the murder 
of Caesar, when all the others voted for an amnesty through 
fear of mob violence, he even favored a proposal for reward- 

1 That is, affixed the mark of ignominy to their names on the census 


ing those who had killed a tyrant, Later on, having held the 
praetorship, since a dispute arose among the Triumvirs at the 
dose of his term, he retained the badges of his rank beyond 
the legitimate time and followed Lucius Antonius, Consul and 
brother of the Triumvir, to Perusia. When the others capitu- 
lated, he alone held to his allegiance and got away first to 
Praeneste and then to Naples; and after vainly trying to en- 
list the slaves by a promise of freedom, he took refuge in 
Sicily. Piqued however because he was not at once given an 
audience with Sextus Pompeius, and was denied the use of 
the fasces, he crossed to Achaia and joined Mark Antony. 
With him he shortly returned to Rome, on the conclusion of 
a general peace, and gave up to Augustus at his request his 
wife Livia Drusilla, who was pregnant at the time and had 
already borne him a son. 1 Not long afterward he died, sur- 
vived by both his sons, Tiberius Nero and Drusus Nero. 

Some have supposed that Tiberius was born at Fundi, on 
no better evidence than that his maternal grandmother was a 
native of that place, and that later a statue of Good Fortune 
was set up there by decree of the Senate. But according to 
the most numerous and trustworthy authorities, fie was born 
at Rome, on the Palatine, the sixteenth day before the Kalends 
of December, in the consulship of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus 
and Lucius Munatius Plancus (the former for the second 
time) while the war of Philippi was going on. In fact it is so 
recorded both in the calendar and in the public registers. Yet 
in spite of this some write that he was born in the preceding 
year, that of Hirtius and Pansa, and others in the following 
year, in the consulate of Servilius Isauricus and Lucius An- 

He passed his infancy and his youth amid hardship and 
tribulation, since he was everywhere the companion of his 
parents in their flight. At Naples indeed he all but betrayed 
them twice by his crying, as they were secretly on their way 
to a ship, just as the enemy burst into the town; once when 
he was snatched from his nurse's breast, and again from his 
mother's arms, by some of the company, who in the sudden 
danger tried to relieve the women of their burden. After being 

1 For further detail see Augustus. 

TIBERIUS * i xa$ 

taken all over Sicily also and Achaia, and consigned U> the 
public care of the Lacedaemonians, because they were depend- 
ents of the Claudii, he almost lost his life as he wad leaving 
there by night, when the wood5 suddenly took fire all about 
them, and the flames so encircled the whole company that 
part of Livia's robe and her hair were scorched* The gilts 
which were given him in Sicily by Pompeia, si$ter-of Sextus 
Pompeius, a cloak and clasp, as well as studs of gold, are still 
kept and exhibited at Baiae. Being adopted, after his return 
to the city, in the will of Marcus Gallius, a Senator, he ac- 
cepted the inheritance, but soon gave up the name, because 
Gallius had been a member of the party opposed to Augustus. 

At the age of nine he delivered a eulogy of his dead father 
from the rostra. Then, just as he was arriving at puberty, he 
accompanied the chariot of Augustus in his triumph after 
Actium, riding the left trace-horse, while Marcellus, son of 
Octavia, rode the one on the right. He presided, too, at the 
city festival, and took part in the game of Troy during the 
performances in the circus, leading the band of older boys. 

The principal events of his youth and later life, from the 
time he assumed the gown of manhood to the beginning of 
his reign, were these. He gave a gladiatorial show in memory 
of his father, and a second in honor of his grandfather Drusus, 
at different times and in different places, the former in the 
Forum and the latter in the amphitheater, inducing some re- 
tired gladiators to appear with the rest by the payment of a 
hundred thousand sesterces to each. 1 He also gave stage-plays, 
but without being present in person. All these were on a grand 
scale, at the expense of his mother and his stepfather. 2 

He married Agrippina, daughter of Marcus Agrippa, and 
granddaughter of Caecilius Atticus, the Roman Knight to 
whom Cicero's letters are addressed; but after he had ac- 
knowledged 8 a son from her, Drusus, although she was thor- 
oughly congenial and was a second time with child, he was 

1 $4,100.00. 

2 Livia and Augustus. 

8 A child at birth was laid at his father's feet. He then acknowledged 
the infant by taking it in his arms. Otherwise he assumed no responsi- 
bility for it. 


forced to divorce her and to contract a hurried marriage with 
Julia, 1 daughter of Augustus. This caused him no little dis- 
tress of mind, for he was living happily with Agrippina, and 
disapproved of Julia's character, having perceived that she 
had a passion for him even during the lifetime of her former 
husband, as was in fact the general opinion. But even after 
the divorce he regretted his separation from Agrippina, and 
the only time that he chanced to see her, he followed her with 
such an intent and tearful gaze that care was taken that she 
should never again come before his eyes. With Julia he lived 
in harmony at first, and returned her love; but he soon grew 
cold, and went so far as to cease to live with her at all, after 
the severing of the tie formed by a child which was born to 
them, but died at Aquileia in infancy. He lost his brother 
Drusus in Germany and brought his body to Rome, going be- 
fore it on foot all the way. 

He began his civil career by defending King Archelaus, the 
people of Tralles, and those of Thessaly, before the judgment 
seat of Augustus, the charge in each case being different. He 
made a plea to the Senate in behalf of the citizens of Laodicea, 
Thyatira, and Chios, who had suffered loss from an earth- 
quake and begged for help. Fannius Caepio, who had con- 
spired with Varro Murena against Augustus, he arraigned 
for high treason and secured his condemnation. In the mean 
time he undertook two public charges: that of the grain sup 
ply, which, as it happened, was deficient; and the investiga- 
tion of the slave-prisons 2 throughout Italy, the owners of 
which had gained a bad reputation; for they were charged 
with holding in durance not only travelers, but also those 
whom dread of military service had driven to such places of 

His first military service was as Tribune of the soldiers in 
the campaign against the Cantabrians. He then led an army 
to the Orient and restored the throne of Armenia to Tigranes, 
crowning him on the tribunal. He besides recovered the stand- 
ards which the Parthians had taken from Marcus Crassus ' 

1 Scc Augustus. x 

8 See also Augustus. 
8 But see Augustus. 


Then for about a year he was governor of Gallia Comata, 1 
which was in a state of unrest through the inroads of the bar- 
barians and the dissensions of its chiefs. Next he carried on 
war with the Raeti and Vindelici, then in Pannonia, and finally 
in Germany. In the first of these wars he subdued the Alpine 
tribes, in the second the Breuci and Dalmatians, and in the 
third he brought forty thousand prisoners of war over into 
Gaul and assigned them homes near the bank of the Rhine. 
Because of these exploits he entered the city both in an ova- 
tion and in a triumph having previously, as some think, been 
honored with the triumphal regalia, a new kind of distinction 
never before conferred upon any one. 

He entered upon the offices of Quaestor, Praetor, and Con- 
sul before the usual age, and held them almost successively. 
After an interval he was made Consul again, at the same time 
receiving the tribunicial power for five years. 

At the flood-tide of success, though in the prime of life and 
health, he suddenly decided to go into retirement and to 
withdraw as far as possible from the center of the stage. It is 
uncertain whether this was from disgust at his wife, whom he 
dared neither accuse nor put away, though he could no longer 
endure her; or from hope by avoiding the contempt born of 
familiarity to support and augment his prestige by absence, 
in case his country should ever need him. Some think that, 
since the children of Augustus were now of age, he volun- 
tarily gave up the position and the virtual assumption of the 
second rank which he had long held, thus following the ex- 
ample of Marcus Agrippa, who withdrew to Mytilene when 
Marcellus began his public career, so that he might not seem 
either to oppose or belittle him by his presence. This was, in 
fact, the reason which Tiberius himself gave, but afterwards. 
At the time he asked for leave of absence on the ground of 
weariness of office and a desire to rest. Neither his mother's 
urgent entreaties nor the complaint which his stepfather 
openly made in the Senate, could alter his resolution. On the 
contrary, when they made more strenuous efforts to detain 
him, he refused to take food for four days. Being at last al- 

i Transalpine Gaul was called Comata, "long-haired"; the southern 
part, Braccata, "breeches-wearing," and Cisalpine Gaul, Togata, "toga- 


lowed to depart, he left his wife* and son m Rome and went 
down to Ostia l in haste, without saying a single word to any 
of those who saw him off, and kissing only a very few when 
he left. 

From Ostia he coasted along the shore of Campania, and 
learning of an indisposition of Augustus, he stopped for a 
while. But since gossip was rife that he was lingering on the 
chance of realizing his highest hopes, although the wind was 
all but dead ahead, he sailed directly to Rhodes, for he had 
been attracted by the charm and healthfulness of that island 
ever since the time when he put in there on his return from 
Armenia. Content there with a modest house and a villa in 
the suburbs not much more spacious, he adopted a most un- 
assuming manner of life, at times walking in the gymnasium 
without a Lictor or a messenger, and exchanging courtesies 
with the good people of Greece almost as though he were one 
of them. 

It chanced one morning in arranging his program for the 
day, that he had announced his wish to visit whatever sick 
folk there were in the city. This was misunderstood by his 
attendants, and orders were given that all the sick should be 
taken to a public portico and arranged according to the nature 
of their complaints. Whereupon Tiberius, shocked at this 
unexpected sight, and in doubt for some time what to do, 
at last went about to each one, apologizing for what had hap- 
pened even to the humblest and most obscure of them. 

One instance only was noticed in which he appeared to ex- 
ercise his tribunicial authority. He was a constant attendant 
at the schools and lecture-rooms of the professors of philoso- 
phy, and once when a hot dispute had arisen among rival 
sophists, a fellow had the audacity to ply him with abuse 
when he took part and appeared to favor one side. Thereupon 
he gradually backed away to his house, and then suddenly 
coming out with his Lictors and attendants, and bidding his 
crier to summon the foul-mouthed fellow before his tribunal, 
he ordered them to take him off to prison. 

Shortly after this he learned that his wife Julia had been 
banished because of her immorality and adulteries, and that 

i Ostia, the port of Rome, about 13 miles from the city. 


a bill of divorce had been sent her in his name by authority of 
Augustus. Welcome as this news was, he yet considered it his 
duty to make every possible effort in numerous letters to 
reconcile the father to his daughter; and, regardless of her 
deserts, to allow her to keep any gifts which he had himself 
made her at any time. Moreover, when the term of his tri- 
bunicial power was at an end, at last admitting that the sole 
object of his retirement had been to avoid the suspicion of 
rivalry with Gaius and Lucius, he asked that inasmuch as 
he was free from care in that icgard, since they were now 
grown up and had an undisputed claim on the succession, he 
be allowed to visit his relatives, whom he sorely missed. But 
his request was denied and he was besides admonished to 
give up all thought of his kindred, whom he had so eagerly 

Accordingly he remained in Rhode? against his will, hav- 
ing with difficulty through his mothers aid secured permis- 
sion that, while away from Rome, he should have the title of 
envoy of Augustus, so as to conceal hi* disgrace. 

Then in very truth he lived not only in private, but even 
in danger and fear, secluded in the country away from the 
sea, and shunning the attentions of those who sailed that way. 
These, however, were constantly thrust on bira, since no gen- 
eral or magistrate who was on his way to any province failed 
to put in at Rhodes. He had besides reasons for still greater 
anxiety. For when he had crossed the Samos to visit his 
stepson Gaius, who had been made Governor of the Orient, 
he found him somewhat estranged through the slanders of 
Marcus Lollius, a member of Gaius' staff and his guardian. He 
also incurred the suspicion of having through some centurions 
of his appointment, who were returning to camp after a fur- 
lough, sent messages to several persons which were of an am- 
biguous character and apparently designed to incite them to 
revolution. On being informed by Augustus of this suspicion, 
he unceasingly demanded the appointment of some one, of 
any rank whatsoever, to keep watch over his actions and 

He also gave up his usual exercises with horses and arms, 
and laying aside the garb of his country, took to the Greek 
iress. In this state he continued for upwards of two years, 


becoming daily an object of greater contempt and aversion. 
This went so far that the citizens of Nemausus x threw down 
his statues and busts, and when mention was once made of 
him at a private dinner party, a man got up and assured Gaius 
that if he would say the word, he would at once take ship for 
Rhodes and bring back the head of "the exile," as he was 
commonly called. It was this act especially, which made his 
position no longer one of mere fear but of actual peril, that 
drove Tiberius to sue for his recall with most urgent prayers, 
in which he was joined by his mother. And he obtained it, al- 
though partly owing to a fortunate chance. Augustus had re- 
solved to come to no decision on the question which was not 
agreeable to his elder son, 2 who, as it happened, was at the 
time somewhat at odds with Marcus Lollius, and accordingly 
ready to lend an ear to his stepfather's prayers. With his con- 
sent therefore Tiberius was recalled, but on the understanding 
that he should take no part or active interest in public affairs. 

So he returned in the eighth year after his retirement, with 
that strong and unwavering confidence in his destiny, which 
he had conceived from his early years because of omens and 

When Livia was with child with him, and was trying to 
divine by various omens whether she would bring forth a 
male, she took an egg from under a setting-hen, and when 
she had warmed it in her own hand and those of her atten- 
dants in turn, a cock with a fine crest was hatched. In his in- 
fancy the astrologer Scribonius promised him an illustrious 
career and even that he would one day be King, but without 
the crown of royalty, for at that time of course the rule of the 
Caesars was as yet unheard of. Again, on his first campaign, 
when he was leading an army through Macedonia into Syria, 
it chanced that at Philippi the altars consecrated in bygone 
days by the victorious legions gleamed of their own accord 
with sudden fires. When later, on his way to Illyricum, he 
visited the oracle of Geryon near Patavium, and drew a lot 
which advised him to seek an answer to his inquiries by 
throwing golden dice into the fount of Aponus, it came to pass 

1 In Gallia Comata, where Tiberius had been governor. Now Nfmes. 
His grandson Gaius, the same mentioned just above, eldest ion of 
his daughter Julia by Agrippa. 


that the dice which he threw showed the highest possible num- 
ber and even to-day those very dice may be seen under the 
water. A few days before his recall an eagle, a bird never be- 
fore seen in Rhodes, perched upon the roof of his house and 
the day before he was notified that he might return, as he was 
changing his clothes, his tunic appeared to be all on fire. 
It was just at this time that he was convinced of the powers of 
the astrologer Thrasyllus, whom he had attached to his house- 
hold as an adept in the art. For, as soon as he caught sight 
of the ship, Thrasyllus declared that it brought good news. 
This happened at the very moment when Tiberius had made 
up his mind to push the man off into the sea as they were 
strolling together, believing him a false prophet and too hastily 
made the confidant of his secrets, because things were turn- 
ing out adversely and contrary to his predictions. 

On his return to Rome, after introducing his son Drusus 
to public life, he at once moved from Pompey's house in the 
Carinae district to the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline, 
where he led a very retired life, merely attending to his per- 
sonal affairs and exercising no public functions. 

When Gaius and Lucius died within three years, he, along 
with their brother Marcus Agrippa, was adopted by Augustus, 
being himself first compelled to adopt his nephew Germanicus. 
From that time on he ceased to act as the head of a family, 
or to retain in any particular the privileges which he had given 
up. For he neither made gifts nor freed slaves, and he did not 
even receive any estate left him by will, or any legacy without 
reckoning it as part of his property held under his father. 
From this time on nothing was left undone which could add 
to his prestige, especially after the disowning and banishment 
of Agrippa made it clear that the hope of the succession lay in 
him alone. 

He was given the tribunicial power for a second term of 
three years, the duty of subjugating Germany was assigned 
him, and the envoys of the Parthians, after presenting their 
instructions to Augustus in Rome, were bidden to appear also 
before him in his province. But when the revolt of Illyricum 
Was reported, he was transferred to the charge of a new war, 
the most serious of all foreign wars since those with Carthage, 
which he carried on for three years with fifteen legions and a 


corresponding force of auxiliaries, amid great difficulties of 
every kind and the utmost scarcity of supplies. But though 
he was often recalled, he none the less kept on, for fear that 
the enemy, who were close at hand and very strong, might 
assume the offensive if the Romans gave ground. He reaped 
an ample reward for his perseverance, for he completely sub- 
dued and reduced to submission the whole of Illyricum, which 
is bounded by Italy and the kingdom of Noricum, by Thrace 
and Macedonia, by the Danube, and by the Adriatic sea. 

Circumstances gave this exploit a larger and crowning 
glory; for it was at just about that time that Quintilius Varus 
perished with three legions in Germany, and no one doubted 
that the victorious Germans would have united with the PaD- 
nonians, had not Illyricum been subdued first. Consequently 
a triumph was voted him and many high honors. Some also 
recommended that he be given the surname of Pannonicus, 
others of Invictus, others of Pius. Augustus, however, vetoed 
the surname, reiterating the promise that Tiberius would be 
satisfied with the one which he would receive at his father's 
death. Tiberius himself put off the triumph, because the coun- 
try was in mourning for the disaster to Varus. But he entered 
the city clad in the purple-bordered toga and crowned with 
laurel, and mounting a tribunal which had been set up in the 
Saepta, while the Senate stood alongside, he took his seat 
beside Augustus between the two Consuls. Having greeted 
the people from this position, he was escorted to the various 

The next year he returned to Germany, and realizing that 
the disaster to Varus was due to that general's rashness an4 
lack of care, he took no step without the approval of a coun- 
cil. Whereas he had always before been a man of independent 
judgment and self-reliance, at this time, contrary to his habit, 
he consulted with many advisers about the conduct of the 
campaign. He also observed more scrupulous care than usual. 
When on the point of crossing the Rhine, he reduced all the 
baggage to a prescribed limit, and would not start without 
standing on the bank and inspecting the loads of the wagons, 
to make sure that nothing was taken except what was allowed 
or necessary. Once on the other side, he adopted the follow- 
ing manner of life: he took his meals sitting on the bare turf, 


of tea passed the night without a tent, and gave all his orders 
for the following day, as well as notice of any sudden emer- 
gency, in writing; adding the injunction that if any one was 
in doubt about any matter, he was to consult him personally 
at any hour whatsoever, even of the night. 

He required the strictest discipline, reviving bygone meth- 
ods of punishment and ignominy, and even degrading the 
commander of a legion for sending a few soldiers across the 
river to accompany one of his freedmen on a hunting expedi- 
tion. Although he left very little to fortune and chance he 
entered battles with considerably greater confidence whenever 
it happened that, as he was working at night, his lamp sud- 
denly and without human agency died down and went out; 
trusting, as he used to say, to an omen in which he had great 
confidence, since both he and his ancestors had found it trust- 
worthy in all of their campaigns. Yet in the very hour of 
victory he narrowly escaped assassination by one of the Bruc- 
teri, who got access to him among his attendants, but was de- 
'ected through his nervousness; whereupon a confession of 
ftis intended crime was wrung from him by torture. 

After two years he returned to the city from Germany and 
celebrated the triumph which he had postponed, accompanied 
also by his generals, for whom he had obtained the triumphal 
regalia. And before turning to enter the Capitol, he dis- 
mounted from his chariot and fell at the knees of his father, 
who was presiding over the ceremonies. He sent Bato, the 
leader of the Pannonians, to Ravenna, 1 after presenting him 
with rich gifts; thus showing his gratitude to him for allowing 
him to escape when he was trapped with his army in a danger- 
ous place. Then he gave a banquet to the people at a thousand 
tables, and a largess of three hundred sesterces 2 to every man. 
With the proceeds of his spoils he restored and dedicated the 
temple of Concord, as well as that of Pollux and Castor, in his 
own name and that of his brother. 

Since the Consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this 
that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and 
hold the census with him, he set out for Illyricum on the con* 

1 Ordinarily the leaders of the enemy were strangled in the dungeon 
at the loot' of the Capitolinc Hill. r 

2 $12. 30. 


elusion of the lustral ceremonies. 1 But he was at once recalled, 
and finding Augustus in his last illness but still alive, he spent 
an entire day with him in private. 

I know that it is commonly believed, that when Tiberius 
left the room after this confidential talk, Augustus was over- 
heard by his chamberlains to say: "Alas for the Roman peo- 
ple, to be ground by jaws that crunch so slowly!" I also am 
aware that some have written that Augustus so openly and 
unreservedly disapproved of the sourness of his manner that 
he sometimes broke off his freer and lighter conversation 
when Tiberius appeared; but that overcome by his wife's 
entreaties he did not reject his adoption, or perhaps was even 
led by selfish considerations, that with such a successor he 
himself might one day be more regretted. But after all I can- 
not be led to believe that an Emperor of the utmost prudence 
and foresight acted without consideration, especially in a 
matter of so great moment. It is my opinion that after weigh- 
ing the faults and the merits of Tiberius, he decided that the 
latter preponderated, especially since he took oath before the 
people that he was adopting Tiberius for the good of the 
country, and alludes to him in several letters as a most able 
general and the sole defense of the Roman people. In illustra- 
tion of both these points, I append a few extracts from these 

"Fare thee well, Tiberius, most charming of men, and suc- 
cess go with you, as you war for me and for the Muses. Fare 
thee well, most charming and valiant of men and most con- 
scientious of generals, or may I never know happiness." 

"I have only praise for the conduct of your summer cam- 
paigns, dear Tiberius, and I am sure that no one could have 
acted with better judgment than you did amid so many diffi- 
culties and such apathy of your army. All who were with you 
agree that the well-known verses could be applied to you: 

"One man alone by watchful sight 
Our tottering state hath set upright." * 

*See Augustus. 

3 From Ennius' Annalium V, 370, with one word changed by Augus* 
tus to make it more applicable in this case. 


"If anything comes up that calls for careful thought, or if 
I am vexed at anything, so help me the God of Truth, I 
long mightily for my dear Tiberius, and the lines of Honwr 
come to my mind: 

"Let him but bear me company, 

So prudent, he, and sage, 
And home we'll come, both he and I 

Though flames about us rage." I 

"When I hear and read that you are worn out by constant 
hardships, may the Gods confound me if my own body does 
not wince in sympathy. So I beseech you to spare yourself, 
that the news of your illness may not kill your mother and 
me, and endanger the Roman people in the person of their 
future ruler." 

"It matters not whether I am well or not, if you are not 

"I pray the Gods to preserve you to us and to grant you 
good health now and forever, if they do not utterly hate the 
people of Rome." 

Tiberius did not make the death of Augustus public until 
the young Agrippa had been disposed of. The latter was slain 
by a Tribune of the soldiers appointed to guard him, who re- 
ceived a letter in which he was bidden to do the deed. But it 
is not known whether Augustus left this letter when he died, 
to remove a future source of discord, or whether Livia wrote 
it herself in the name of her husband; and in the latter case, 
whether it was with or without the connivance of Tiberius. 
At all events, when the Tribune reported that he had done his 
bidding, Tiberius replied that he had given no such order, and 
that the man must render an account to the Senate. Appar- 
ently he was trying to avoid odium at the time, for later his 
silence consigned the matter to oblivion. 

When, however, by virtue of his tribunicial power, he had 
convened the Senate and had begun to address it, he suddenly 
groaned aloud, as if overcome by grief, and with the wish 
that not only his voice, but his life as well might leave him, 

1 Iliad, X, 246. Diomede is speaking of Ulysses, where he asks that 
he may accompany him as a spy into the Trojan camp. 


handed the written speech to his son Drusus to finish. Then 
bringing in the will of Augustus, he had it read by a freedman, 
admitting of the signers only such as were of the senatorial 
order, while the others acknowledged their seals outside the 
House. The will began thus: "Since a cruel fate has bereft me 
of my sons Gaius and Lucius, be Tiberius Caesar heir to two- 
thirds of my estate." These words in themselves added to the 
suspicion of those who believed that he had named Tiberius 
his successor from necessity rather than from choice, since 
he allowed himself to write such a preamble. 

Though Tiberius did not hesitate at once to assume and to 
exercise the imperial authority, surrounding himself with a 
guard of soldiers, that is, with the actual power and the out- 
ward sign of sovereignty, yet he long refused the title, at one 
time with barefaced hypocrisy upbraiding his friends who 
urged him to accept it, saying that they did not realize what 
a monster the empire was, at another by evasive answers ancj 
calculating hesitancy keeping the Senators in suspense when 
they implored him to yield, and fell at his feet. Finally, some 
lost patience, and one man cried out in the confusion: "Let 
him take it or leave it." Another openly voiced the taunt that 
others were slow in doing what they promised, but that he 
was slow to promise what he was already doing. At last, as 
though on compulsion, and complaining that a wretched and 
burdensome slavery was being forced upon him, he accepted 
the empire, but in such fashion as to suggest the hope that he 
would one day lay it down. His own words are: "Until I come 
to the time when it may seem right to you to grant an old 
man some repose." 

The cause of his hesitation was fear of the dangers which 
threatened him on every hand, and often led him to say that 
be was "holding a wolf by the ears." l For a slave of Agrippa, 
Clemens by name, had collected a band of no mean size to 
avenge his master; Lucius Scribonius Libo, one of the nobles, 
was secretly plotting a revolution; and a mutiny of the sol- 
diers broke out in two places, Illyricum and Germany. Both 
armies demanded numerous special privileges, particularly, 
that they should receive the same pay as the praetorian sol- 

1 A Greek provexb. 


diers. The army in Germany was, besides, reluctant to accept 
an Emperor who was not HS own choice, and with the greatest 
urgency besought Germanicus, their commander at the time, 
to assume the purple, in spite of his positive refusal. It was 
fear of this possibility in particular which led him to request 
the Senate to assign him any part in the administration that 
it might please them, saying that no one man could bear the 
whole burden without a colleague, or even several colleagues. 
He also feigned ill-health, to induce Germanicus to wait with 
more patience for a speedy succession, or at least for a share 
in the sovereignty. The mutinies were put down, and he also 
got Clemens into his power, outwitting him by stratagem. 
Not until his second year did he finally arraign Libo in the 
Senate, fearing to take any severe measures before his power 
was secure, being content in the meantime with taking pre- 
cautions for his own security. Thus when Libo was offering 
sacrifice with him among the Pontiffs, instead of the usual 
knife he ordered one of lead to be given him; and when he 
asked for a private interview, Tiberius would not grant it 
except with his son Drusus present, and as long as the con- 
ference lasted he held fast to Libo's right arm, under pre- 
tence of leaning on it as they walked together. 

Once relieved of fear, he at first played a most unassum- 
ing part, almost humbler than that of a private citizen. Of 
many high honors he accepted only a few of the more modest. 
He barely consented to allow his birthday, which came at 
the time of the Plebeian games in the Circus, to be recognized 
by the addition of a single two-horse chariot. He forbade the 
voting of temples, flamens, and priests in his honor, and even 
the setting up of statues and busts without his permission; 
and this he gave only with the understanding that they were 
not to be placed among the likenesses of the Gods, but among 
the adornments of the temples. He would not allow an oath 
to be taken ratifying his acts, nor the name Tiberius to be 
given to the month of September, or that of Livia to October. 
He also declined the forename Imperator, the surname of 
Father of his Country, and the placing of the civic crown x 
at his door. He did not even use the title of Augustus in any 

* See Julius. 


letters except those to Kings and potentates, although it was 
his by inheritance. He held but three consulships after be- 
coming Emperor: one for a few days, a second for three 
months, and a third, during his absence from the city, until 
the Ides of May. 

He so loathed flattery that he would not allow any Senator 
to approach his litter, either to pay his respects or on business, 
and when an ex-consul in apologizing to him attempted to em- 
brace his knees, he drew back in such haste that he fell over 
backward. In fact, if any one in conversation or in a set speech 
spoke of him in too flattering terms, he did not hesitate to 
interrupt him, to take him to task, and to correct his language 
on the spot. Being once called "Lord," * he warned the speaker 
not to address him again in an insulting fashion. When another 
spoke of his "sacred duties/' and still another said that he 
appeared before the Senate "by the Emperor's authority," 
he forced them to change their language, substituting "ad- 
vice" for "authority" and "laborious" for "sacred." 

More than that, he was self-contained and patient in the 
face of abuse and slander, and of lampoons on himself and his 
family, often asserting that in a free country there should be 
free speech and free thought. When the Senate on one occa- 
sion demanded that cognizance be taken of such offenses and 
those guilty of them, he said: "We have not enough spare 
time to warrant involving ourselves in more affairs. If you 
open this loophole you will find no time for any other busi- 
ness. It will be an excuse for laying everybody's quarrels be- 
fore you." A most unassuming remark of his in the Senate 
is also a matter of record: "If so and so criticizes me I shall 
take care to render an account of my acts and words; if he 
persist, I shall return him in kind." 

All this was the more noteworthy, because in addressing 
and in paying his respects to the Senators individually and 
as a body he himself almost exceeded the requirements of 
courtesy. In a disagreement with Quintius Haterius in the 
House, he said: "I crave your pardon, if in my capacity as 
Senator I use too free language in opposing you." Then ad- 
dressing the whole body: "I say now and have often said 

1 See Augustus. 


before, Fathers of the Senate, that a well-disposed and help* 
ful prince, to whom you have given such great and unre- 
strained power, ought to be the servant of the Senate, often 
of the citizens as a whole, and sometimes of individuals. I do 
not regret my words, but I have looked upon you as kind, 
just, and indulgent masters, 1 and still so regard you." 

He even introduced a semblance of free government by 
maintaining the ancient dignity and powers of the Senate and 
the magistrates. For there was no matter of public or private 
business so small or so great that he did not lay it before the 
Senators, consulting them about revenues and monopolies, 2 
constructing and restoring public buildings, even about levy- 
ing and disbanding the soldiers, and the disposal of the legion- 
aries and auxiliaries; finally about the extension of military 
commands and appointments to the conduct of wars, and the 
form and content of his replies to the letters of Kings. He 
forced the commander of a troop of horse, when charged with 
violence and robbery, to plead his cause before the Senate. 
He always entered the House alone. Once when he was taken 
there in a litter because of illness he dismissed his attendants 
at the door. 

When certain decrees were passed contrary to his expressed 
opinion, he did not even remonstrate. Although he declared 
that those who were elected to office ought to remain in the 
city and give personal attention to their duties, a Praetor- 
elect obtained permission to travel abroad with the privileges 
of an Ambassador. On another occasion when he recommended 
that the people of Trebia be allowed to use, in making a road, 
a sum of money which had been left them for the construction 
of a new theater, he could not prevent the wish of the testator 
from being carried out. Once, when the Senate was divided 
and the act might pass by the difference of a few votes he 
went over to the side of the minority, but not a man followed 

Other business as well was done solely through the magis- 
trates and the ordinary process of law, while the importance 
of the Consuls was so great that certain envoys from Africa 

1 Using the term by which a slave addressed his owner. 

2 Grants to an individual or a company of an exclusive right to stB 
Certain commodities. 


presented themselves before them with the complaint that 
they could not have their affairs attended to by Caesar, to 
whom they had been sent. And no wonder: since it was ob- 
served that he himself actually arose in the presence of the 
Consuls, and made way for them on the street. 

He rebuked some ex-consuls in command of armies, be- 
cause they did not write their reports to the Senate, and for 
referring to him the award of some military prizes, 1 as if they 
had not themselves the right to bestow everything of the kind. 
He highly complimented a Praetor, because on entering upon 
his office he had revived the custom of eulogizing his ances- 
tors before the people. He attended the obsequies of certain 
distinguished men, even going to the funeral-pyre. 

He showed equal modesty towards persons of lower rank 
and in matters of less moment. When he had summoned the 
magistrates of Rhodes, because they had written him letters 
on public business without the concluding formula, 2 he uttered 
not a word of censure, but merely dismissed them with or- 
ders to supply the omission. The grammarian Diogenes, who 
used to lecture every Sabbath, 8 at Rhodes, would not admit 
Tiberius when he came to hear him on a different day, but 
sent a message by a common slave of his, putting him off to 
the seventh day. When this man waited before the Emperor's 
door at Rome to pay his respects, Tiberius took no further 
revenge than to bid him return seven years later. To the gov- 
ernors who recommended burdensome taxes for his provinces, 
he wrote in answer that it was the part of a good shepherd to 
shear his flock, not skin it. 

Little by little he unmasked the ruler, and although for 
some time his conduct was variable, yet he more often showed 
himself kindly and devoted to the public weal. His interven- 
tion too was at first limited to the prevention of abuses. Thus 
he revoked some regulations of the Senate and sometimes of- 
fered the magistrates his services as adviser, when they sat 
in judgment on the tribunal, taking his place beside them or 

1 Compare with Augustus' chary bestowal of military prizes. 

2 Which consisted of prayers for the Emperor's welfare. 

8 Calling the seventh day of the week (Saturday) by the Jewish 
term "Sabbath" seems to have been common. 


opposite them at one end of the platform; and iMt was ru-. 
mored that any of the accused were being acquitted through 
influence, he would suddenly appear, and either from the floor 
or from the judge's tribunal remind the jurors of the laws and 
of their oath, as well as of the nature of the crime on which 
they were sitting in judgment. Moreover, if the public morals 
were in any way affected by laziness or bad habits he under- 
took to reform them. 

He reduced the cost of the games and shows by cutting 
down the pay of the actors and limiting the pairs of gladiators 
to a fixed number. Complaining bitterly that the prices of 
Corinthian bronze vessels had risen to an immense figure and 
that three mullets 1 had been sold for thirty thousand ses- 
terces 2 he proposed that a limit be set to household furniture 
and that the prices in the market should be regulated each 
year at the discretion of the Senate. And the Aediles were 
instructed to put such restrictions on cook-shops and eating- 
houses as not to allow even pastry to be exposed for sale. 
Furthermore, to encourage general frugality by his personal 
example, he often served at formal dinners meats left over 
from the day before and partly consumed, or the half of a 
boar, declaring that it had all the qualities of a whole one. 

He issued an edict forbidding general kissing, as well as the 
exchange of New Year's gifts 8 after the Kalends of January, 
It was his custom to return a gift four times the value of ths 
one received, and in person; but annoyed at being interrupted 
all through the month by those who did not have access to 
him on the holiday, he did not continue it. 

He revived the custom of our forefathers, that in the ab- 
sence of a public prosecutor wives of ill-repute be punished 
according to the decision of a council of their relatives. He 
absolved a Roman Knight from his oath and allowed him to 
put away his wife, who was taken in adultery with her son- 
in-law, even though he had previously sworn that he would 
never divorce her. Notorious women 'had begun to make ati 
open profession of prostitution, to avoid the punishment oj 

i A fish much esteemed as food. 
' 2 $1,230.00. 
8 Given for good luck. 


the laws by giving up the privileges and rank of matrons/ 
while the most profligate young men of both orders voluntarily 
incurred degradation from their rank, so as not to be pre- 
vented by the decree of the Senate from appearing on the 
stage and in the arena. All such men and women he punished 
with exile, to prevent any one from shielding himself by such 
a device. He deprived a Senator of his broad stripe on learn- 
ing that he had moved into his gardens just before the 
Kalends of July, 2 with the design of renting a house in the city 
at a lower figure after that date. He deposed another from his 
quaestorship, because he had taken a wife the day before cast- 
ing lots and divorced her the day after. 

He abolished foreign cults, especially the Egyptian and the 
Jewish rites, compelling all who were addicted to such super- 
stitions to burn their religious vestments and all their para- 
phernalia. Those of the Jews who were of military age he 
assigned to provinces of less healthy climate, ostensibly to 
serve in the army. Others of the same race or of similar beliefs 
he banished from the city, on pain of slavery for life if they 
did not obey. He banished the astrologers as well, but par- 
doned such as begged for indulgence and promised to give up 
their art. 

He gave special attention to securing the public peace 
against lawless persons, prowling brigands, and those who 
were disaffected to the government. He stationed garrisons 
of soldiers nearer together than before throughout Italy, 
while at Rome he established a camp for the barracks of 
the praetorian cohorts, which before that time had been 
quartered in isolated groups in divers lodging houses. 

He took great pains to prevent outbreaks of the populace 
and punished such as occurred with the utmost severity. 
When a quarrel in the theater ended in bloodshed, he ban- 
ished the leaders of the factions, as well as the actors who 
were the cause of the dissension; and no entreaties of the 
people could ever induce him to recall them. When the popu- 
lace of Pollentia would not allow the body of a Chief-Cen- 

1 Augustus had made the punishments for adultery very severe. To 
escape these some matrons sacrificed their rights and responsibilities by 
registering with the Aediles as prostitutes. 

2 July xst was the day for renewing rents; "moving-day." 


turion to be taken from the Forum until their violence had 
extorted money from his heirs for a gladiatorial show, he dis* 
patched one cohort from the city and another from the king- 
dom of Cottius, concealing the reason for the move, sent them 
into the city by different gates, suddenly revealing tkeir arms 
and sounding their trumpets, and consigned the greater part 
of the populace and of the Decurions x to life imprisonment. 
He abolished the customary right of asylum * in all parts of 
the empire. Because the people of Cyzicus ventured to commit 
acts of special lawlessness against Roman citizens, he took 
from them the freedom which they had earned in the war 
with Mithridates. 

He undertook no campaign after his accession, but quelled 
outbreaks of the enemy through his generals; and even this 
he did only reluctantly and of necessity. Such Kings as were 
disaffected and objects of his suspicion he held in check 
rather by threats and remonstrances than by force; some he 
lured to Rome by flattering promises and detained there, 
such as Marobodus the German, Rhascuporis the Thracian, 
and Archelaus of Cappadocia, whose realm he also reduced 
to the form of a province. 

For two whole years after becoming Emperor he did not 
set foot outside the gates. After that he went nowhere except 
to the neighboring towns, at farthest to Antium, 8 and even 
that very seldom and for a few days at a time. Yet he often 
gave out that he would visit the provinces too and the armies, 
and nearly every year he made preparations for a journey by 
chartering carriages and arranging for supplies in the free 
towns and colonies. Finally he allowed vows to be put up 
for his voyage and return, so that at last everybody jokingly 
gave him the name of Callippides, who was proverbial among 
the Greeks for running without getting ahead a cubit's 
length. 4 

1 Members of the local Senate. 

3 Criminals frequently took refuge in temples or other holy places 
wbere all were immune from arrest. 

8 A favorite resort of the Emperors on the coast about 30 miles from 
Rome. The statue known as the Apollo Belvedere was found in its 

* This reference is to an Athenian dawn who imitated the movement! 
of running but remained in the same spot. 


But after being bereft of both his sons, Germanicus 1 
had died in Syria and Drusus 2 at Rome,* he retired to Cam** 
pania, and almost every one firmly believed and openly de- 
clared that he would never come back, but would soon die 
there. And both predictions were all but fulfilled; for he did 
not return again to Rome, and it chanced a few days later 
that as he was dining near Tarracina in a villa called the 
Grotto, many huge rocks fell from the ceiling and crushed 
a number of the guests and servants, while the Emperor him- 
self had a narrow escape. 

After traversing Campania and dedicating the Capitolium 
at Capua and a temple to Augustus at Nola, which was the 
pretext he had given for his journey, he went to Capri, par- 
ticularly attracted to that island because it was accessible by 
only one small beach, being everywhere else girt with sheer 
cliffs of great height and by deep water. But he was at once 
recalled by the constant entreaties of the people, because of 
a disaster at Fidenae, where more than twenty thousand 
spectators had perished through the collapse of the amphi- 
theater during a gladiatorial show. So he crossed to the main- 
land and made himself accessible to all, the more willingly 
because he had given orders on leaving the city that no one 
was to disturb him, and during the whole trip had repulsed 
those who tried to approach him. 

Then returning to the island, he utterly neglected the con- 
duct of state affairs, from that time on never filling the va- 
cancies in the Decuries of the Knights, nor changing the 
Tribunes of the soldiers and Prefects or the Governors of any 
of his provinces. He left Spain and Syria without consular 
Governors for several years, suffered Armenia to be overrun 
by the Parthians, Moesia to be laid waste by the Dacians 
and Sarmatians, and the Gallic provinces by the Germans, to 
the great dishonor of the empire and no less to its danger. 

1 Adopted son of Tiberius, natural son of Drusus, Tiberius' brother. 
Tiberius was suspected of having caused Germanicus, a general greatly 
loved by the people, to be poisoned. For more of Germanicus see be- 
low and Caligula. 

2 Drusus (Tiberius' own son by his first wife Vipsania) was also 
poisoned, by his own wife and her paramour Sejanus, Tiberius' minister, 
who aspired to supreme power. 


Moreover, having gained the license of privacy, and being 
as it were out of sight of the citizens, he at last gave free rein 
at once to all the vices which he had for a long time ill con- 
cealed. Of these I shall give a detailed account from the 
beginning. Even at the outset of his military career his ex- 
cessive love of wine gave him the name of Biberius, instead 
of Tiberius, Caldius for Claudius, and Mero for Nero. 1 Later, 
when Emperor and at the very time that he was busy cor- 
recting the public morals, he spent a night and two whole 
days feasting and drinking with Pomponius Flaccus and 
Lucius Piso, immediately afterward making the one Gov- 
ernor of the province of Syria and the other Prefect of the 
city, and even declaring in their commissions that they were 
the most agreeable of friends, who could always be counted 
on. He had a dinner given him by Cestius Callus, a lustful 
and prodigal old man, who had once been degraded by Augus- 
tus and whom he had himself rebuked a few days before in 
the Senate, making the condition that Cestius should change 
or omit none of his usual customs, and that nude girls should 
wait upon them at table. He gave a very obscure candidate 
for the quaestorship preference over men of the noblest 
families, because at the Emperor's challenge he had drained 
an amphora 2 of wine at a banquet. He paid Asellius Sabinus 
two hundred thousand sesterces 3 for a dialogue, in which he 
had introduced a contest of a mushroom, a fig-pecker, an 
oyster and a thrush. He established a new office, Master of 
the Imperial Pleasures, assigning it to Titus Caesonius Pris- 
cus, a Roman Knight. 

In his retreat at Capri there was a room devised by him 
dedicated to the most arcane lusts. Here he had assembled 
from all quarters girls and perverts, whom he called Spintriae, 
who invented monstrous feats of lubricity, and defiled one 
another before him, interlaced in series of threes, in order 
to inflame his feeble appetite. He also had several other 
rooms variously adapted to his lusts, decorated with paint- 
ings and bas-reliefs depicting scenes of the most lascivious 

1 Coined from bibo, to drink, calidus, hot, and merum, strong wine 

2 An amphora held about seven gallons I 
* $8,200.00. 


character,, and supplied with the books of Elephantis, 1 that 
no one should lack a model for the execution of any lustful 
act he was ordered to perform. Different places in the groves 
and woods he also consecrated to venery, so that young peo- 
ple like Pans and Nymphs lay strewn over hill and valley. 
People, punning on the name of the island, openly and com* 
monly called him capret. 

Still more flagrant and brazen was another sort of infamy 
which he practiced, one that may scarce be told, much less 
believed. He taught children of the most tender years, whom 
he called his little fishes, to play between his legs while he 
was in his bath. Those which had not yet been weaned, but 
were strong and hearty, he set at fellatio, the sort of sport 
best adapted to his inclination and age. When a painting 
by Parrhasius in which Atalanta was represented as doing 
as much to Meleager was willed him with the provision that 
if the subject was offensive to him he was to receive a million 
sesterces 2 instead, he not only chose the picture, but hung 
it in his bedroom as though it were a sacred object. It is also 
said that one day during a sacrifice he was so smitten by the 
beauty of a boy who swung a censer that he was hardly able 
to wait till the rites were over before taking him aside and 
abusing him as well as his brother who was playing the flute; 
and that soon afterwards he had the legs of both of them 
broken because they were reproaching each other with the 

How grossly he was in the habit of abusing women even 
of high birth is very clearly shown by the death of a certain 
Mallonia. When she was brought to his bed and most reso- 
lutely refused to submit to his unnatural lust, he turned her 
over to the informers. Even when she was on trial he did not 
cease to call out and ask her "whether she was not sorry," 
until she left the court, hastened home and stabbed herself, 
having openly upbraided the vile old lecher with his filthy 
and beastly mouth. Hence a stigma put upon him at the next 
plays in an Atellan farce was received with great applause 
and became current, that "the old goat lapped the caprets." 

* A Greek poetess of amatory verse, cited by Martial. She is supposed 
to have written a book on postures, 
2 $41,000.00. 


He was so niggardly and covetous that he never allowed 
the companions of his foreign tours and campaigns a salary, 
but merely their keep. Only once did he treat them liberally, 
and then through the generosity of his stepfather, when he 
formed three classes according to each man's rank and gave 
to the first six hundred thousand sesterces, to the second 
four hundred thousand, and to the third, two hundred thou- 
sand, which last class he called not friends, but his Greeks. 1 

While Emperor he constructed no magnificent public 
works, for the only ones which he undertook, the temple of 
Augustus and the restoration of Pompey's theater, he left, 
after so many years, unfinished. He gave no public shows at 
all, and very seldom attended those given by others, for fear 
that some request would be made of him, especially after 
he was forced to buy the freedom of a comic actor named 
Actius. Having relieved the poverty of a few Senators, he 
avoided the necessity of further aid by declaring that he 
would help no others unless they proved to the Senate that 
there were legitimate causes for their condition. Therefore 
diffidence and a sense of shame kept many from applying, 
among them Hortalus, grandson of Quintus Hortensius the 
orator, who though of very limited means had begotten four 
children with the encouragement of Augustus. 

He showed generosity to the public in but two instances, 
once when he offered to lend a hundred million sesterces 
without interest for a period of three years, and again when 
he made good the losses of some owners of blocks of houses 
on the Caelian Mount, which had burned down. The first 
was forced upon him by the clamor of the people for help in 
a time of great financial stress, after he had failed to relieve 
the situation by a decree of the Senate, providing that the 
money-lenders should advance two-thirds of their capital on 
land, and that debtors should pay at once the same propor- 
tion of their indebtedness; and yet the thing was not put 
through. The second also was to relieve a condition of great 
hardship. Yet he made so much of his liberality in the latter 
case, that he had the name of the Caelian changed to the 

1 There is more about them later in this section. 


Augustan Mount. 1 After he had doubled the legacies pro- 
vided for in the will of Augustus, he never gave largess to 
the soldiers, with the exception of a thousand denarii 2 to 
each of the praetorians, for not taking sides with Sejanus, 
and some presents to the legions in Syria, because they alone 
had consecrated no image of Sejanus among their standards. 
He also very rarely allowed veteran soldiers their discharge, 
having an eye to their death from years, and a saving of 
money through their death. Nor did he ever relieve the prov- 
inces by any act of liberality, except Asia, when some cities 
had been destroyed by an earthquake. 

Presently, as time went on, he even resorted to plunder. 
It is certain that he drove Gnaeus Lentulus Augur, a man of 
great wealth, to take his own life through fear and mental 
anxiety, and to make the Emperor his sole heir; and that 
Lepida, too, a woman of high birth, was condemned to death 
to gratify Quirinius, an opulent and childless ex-consul, who 
had divorced her after twenty years of wedded life, accus- 
ing her of an attempt to poison him many years before. Be- 
sides, as is well known, leading men of the Spanish and 
Gallic provinces, as well as of Syria and Greece, had their 
estates confiscated upon such despicably trifling and shame- 
less pretenses, that against some of them no other charge 
was preferred, than that they had a part of their personal 
property in ready money; 8 also that many states and indi- 
viduals were deprived of immunities of long standing, and 
of the right of working mines and collecting revenues; and 
that Vonones, King of the Parthians, who on being dethroned 
by his subjects had taken refuge at Antioch with a vast 
treasure, in the belief that he was putting himself under the 
protection of the Roman people, was treacherously despoiled 
and put to death. 

He first showed his hatred of his kindred in the case of his 

1 Tacitus (Annals IV, 64) states this was done by the Senate, because 
the statue of Tiberius remained uninjured in the midst of the burned 

2 About $150.00. 

8 Possibly under pretense that they were hoarding money for revolu- 
tionary purposes. Caesar had limited the cash to be held by any one 
person in Italy to 60,000 sesterces, ($2460,00). 


brother Drusus, producing a letter of his, in which Drusus 
discussed with him the question of compelling Augustus to 
restore the Republic. And then he turned against the rest. 
So far from showing any courtesy or kindness to his wife 
Julia, after her banishment, which is the least that one might 
expect, 1 although her father's order had merely confined her 
to one town, he would not allow her even to leave her house 
or enjoy the society of mankind. Nay more, he even deprived 
her of the allowance granted her by her father and of her 
yearly income, under color of observance of the common law, 
because in his will Augustus had made no provision for these 
on her behalf. Being harassed by his mother Livia, who 
claimed an equal share of power with him, he shunned fre- 
quent meetings with her and long and confidential conversa- 
tions, to avoid the appearance of being guided by her ad- 
vice; though in point of fact he was wont every now and 
then to need and to follow it. He was greatly offended too 
by a decree of the Senate, providing that "son of Livia," 
as well as "son of Augustus" should be written in his honorary 
inscriptions. For this reason he would not suffer her to be 
named "Parent of her Country," nor to receive any con- 
spicuous public honor. More than that, he often warned her 
not to meddle with affairs of importance and unbecoming a 
woman, especially after he learned that at a fire near the 
temple of Vesta she had been present in person, and urged 
the people and soldiers to greater efforts, as had been her 
way while her husband was alive. 

Afterwards he reached the point of open enmity, and the 
reason, they say, was this. On her urging him again and 
again to appoint among the jurors a man who had been made 
a citizen, he declared that he would do it only on condition 
that she would allow an entry to be made . 
that it was forced upon him by his 
rage, drew from a secret place 
written to her by Augustus with 
and stubbornness of Tiberius' dis 
put out that these had been pr 
thrown up at him in such a spiteft 

1 His earlier conduct to Julia is not so 


this was the very strongest of the reasons for his retire- 
ment. At all events, during all the three years that she lived 
after he left Rome he saw her but once, and then only one 
day, for a very few hours; and when shortly after that she 
fell ill, he took no trouble to visit her. When she died, and 
after a delay of several days, during which he held out hope 
of his coming, had at last been buried because the condition 
of the corpse made it necessary, he forbade her deification, 
alleging that he was acting according to her own instructions. 
He further disregarded the provisions of her will, and within 
a short time caused the downfall of all her friends and inti- 
mates, even of those to whom she bad on her deathbed in- 
trusted the care of her obsequies, actually condemning one 
of them, and that a man of equestrian rank, to the treadmill. 
He had a father's affection neither for his own son Drusus 
nor his adopted son Germanicus, being exasperated at the 
former's vices. Drusus did, in fact, lead a somewhat loose and 
dissolute life. Therefore, even when he died, Tiberius was 
not greatly affected, but almost immediately after the funeral 
returned to his usual routine, forbidding a longer period of 
mourning. Nay, more, when a deputation from Ilium offered 
him somewhat belated condolences, he replied with a smile, 
as if the memory of his bereavement had faded from his 
mind, that they, too, had his sympathy for the loss of their 
eminent fellow-citizen Hector. As to Germanicus, he was 
so far from appreciating him that he made light of his il- 
lustrious deeds as unimportant, and railed at his brilliant 
victories as ruinous to his country. He even made complaint 
in the Senate when Germanicus, on the occasion of a sudden 
and terrible famine, went to Alexandria without consulting 
him. It is even believed that he caused his death at the hands 
of Gnaeus Piso, Governor of Syria, and some think that when 
Piso was tried on that charge, he would have produced his 
instructions, had not Tiberius caused them to be taken from 
him when Piso privately showed them, and the man himself 
to be put to death. Because of this the words, "Give us back 
Germanicus/' were posted in many places, and shouted at 
night all over the city. And Tiberius afterwards strengthened 
this suspicion by cruelly abusing the wife and children of 
Germanicus as well. 


When his daughter-in-law Agrippina was somewhat out- 
spoken in her complaints after her husband's death, he took 
her by the hand and quoted a Greek verse, meaning "Be- 
cause you are not Empress, dear daughter, do you think a 
wrong is done you?" After that he never deigned to hold 
any conversation with her. Upon her refusing once at dinner 
to taste an apple which he handed her, he ceased inviting 
her to his table, pretending that she had charged him with a 
design to poison her, whereas the whole was a contrivance of 
his own: he was to offer the fruit, and she be privately cau- 
tioned against eating what contained certain death. At last, 
falsely charging her with a desire to take refuge, now at the 
statue of Augustus and now with the armies, he exiled her 
to Pandateria, and when she loaded him with reproaches, he 
had her beaten by a Centurion until one of her eyes was 
destroyed. Again, when she resolved to die of starvation, he 
had her mouth pried open and food crammed into it. Worst 
of all, when she persisted in her resolution and so perished, 
he assailed her memory with the basest slanders, persuading 
the Senate to add her birthday to the days of ill omen, and 
actually taking credit to himself for not having had her 
strangled and her body cast out on the Stairs of Mourning. 
He even allowed a decree to be passed in recognition of this 
remarkable clemency, in which thanks were offered him and 
a golden gift was consecrated to Jupiter of the Capitol. 

By Germanicus he had three grandsons, Nero, Drusus, and 
Gaius, and by Drusus one, called Tiberius. Bereft of his 
own children, he recommended Nero and Drusus, the elder 
sons of Germanicus, to the Senate, and celebrated the day 
wiien each of them came to his majority by giving largess 
to the Commons. But as soon as he learned that at the begin- 
ning of the year vows were being put up for their safety also, 
he referred the matter to the Senate, saying that such honors 
ought to be conferred only on those of tried character and 
mature years. By revealing his true feelings towards them 
from that time on, he exposed them to accusations from all 
quarters, and after resorting to various tricks to rouse them 
to rail at him, and seeing to it that they were betrayed when 
they did so, he brought most bitter charges against them 
both in writing. And when they had in consequence been 


pronounced public enemies, he starved them to death, Nero 
on the island of Pontia and Drusus in a lower room of the 
Palace. It is thought that Nero was forced to take his own 
life, since an executioner, who pretended that he came by 
authority of the Senate, showed him the noose and hooks. 
It is also thought that Drusus was so tortured by hunger that 
he tried to eat the stuffing of his mattress. The remains of 
both were so scattered that it was with difficulty that they 
rould ever be collected. 

In addition to his old friends and intimates, he had asked 
for twenty of the leading men of the State as advisers on pub- 
lic affairs. Of all these he spared hardly two or three; the 
others he destroyed on one pretext or another, including 
Aelius Sejanus, whose downfall involved the death of many 
others. This man he had advanced to the highest power, not 
so much from regard for him, as that he might through his 
services and wiles destroy the children of Germanicus and 
secure the succession for his own grandson, the child of his 
son Drusus. 

He was not a whit milder towards his Greek companions, 
in whose society he took special pleasure. When one Xeno 
was holding forth in somewhat far-fetched phrases, he asked 
him what dialect that was which was so affected, and on 
Xeno's replying that it was Doric, he banished him to Cinaria, 
believing that he was being taunted with his old-time exile 
inasmuch as the Rhodians spoke Doric. He had the habil 
too, of putting questions at dinner suggested by his daih 
reading, and learning that the grammarian Seleucus inquired 
of the imperial attendants what authors Tiberius was reading 
and so came primed, he at first banished the offender froi.. LL 
society, and later even forced him to commit suicide. 

His cruel, and cold-blooded character was not completely 
hidden even in his boyhood. His teacher of rhetoric, Theodorus 
of Gadara, seems first to have had the insight to detect it, and 
to have characterized it very aptly, since in taking him to task 
he would now and then call him "mud mixed with blood." But 
it grew still more noticeable after he became Emperor, even 
at the beginning, when he was still courting popularity by a 
show of moderation. When a funeral was passing by and a 
jester called aloud to the corpse to let Augustus know that the 


legacies which he had left to the people were not yet being 
paid, Tiberius had the man haled before him, ordered that he 
receive what was due him and then be put to death, and bade 
him go tell the truth to his father. Shortly afterwards, when 
a Roman knight called Pompeius stoutly opposed some action 
in the Senate, Tiberius threatened him with imprisonment, 
declaring that from a Pompeius he would make of him a 
Pompeian, punning cruelly on the man's name and the fate 
of the old party. 

It was at about this time that a Praetor asked him whether 
he should have the courts convened to consider cases of trea- 
son. To this he replied that the laws must be enforced, and he 
did enforce them most rigorously. One man had removed the 
head from a statue of Augustus, to substitute that of another. 
The case was tried in the Senate, and since the evidence was 
conflicting, the witnesses were examined by torture. After the 
defendant had been condemned, this kind of accusation grad- 
ually went so far that even such acts as these were regarded 
as capital crimes: to beat a slave near a statue of Augustus, 
or to change one's clothes there; to carry a ring or coin 
stamped with his image into a privy or a brothel, or to criticize 
any word or act of his. Finally, a man was put to death 
merely for allowing an honor to be voted him in his native 
town on the same day that honors had previously been voted 
to Augustus. 

He did so many other cruel and savage deeds under the 
guise of strictness and improvement of the public morals, but 
in reality rather to gratify his natural instincts, that some 
resorted to verses to express their detestation of the present 
ills and a warning against those to come: 

"Obdurate wretch! too fierce, too fell to move 
The least kind yearnings of a mother's lovel 

No Knight are you, as having no estate; 
Will you hear all? Yours is an exile's fate. 

No more the happy Golden Age we see; 
The Iron's come, and sure to last with thee. 


Instead of wine he thirsted for before 
He wallows now in floods of human gore. 

Reflect, ye Romans, on the dreadful times, 
Made such by Marius, and by Sulla's crimes* 

Reflect how Antony's ambitious rage 
Twice scarred with horror a distracted age. 

And say, Alas! Rome's blood in streams will flow 
When banished miscreants T *ule this world below." 

These at first he wished to be taken as the work of those who 
were impatient of his reforms, voicing not so much their real 
feelings as their anger and vexation. And he used to say from 
time to time: "Let them hate me, provided they respect my 
conduct." Later he himself proved them only too true and un* 

A few days after he reached Capri and was by himself, a 
fisherman appeared unexpectedly and offered him a huge mul- 
let; whereupon in his alarm that the man had clambered up 
to him from the back of the island over rough and pathless 
rocks, he had the poor fellow's face scrubbed with the fish. 
And because in the midst of his torture the man thanked his 
stars that he had not given the Emperor an enormous crab 
that he had caught, Tiberius had his face torn with the crab 
also. He punished a soldier of the praetorian guard with death 
for having stolen a peacock from his preserves. When the litter 
in which he was making a trip was stopped by brambles, he 
h?d the man who went ahead to dear the way, a Centurion 
oi the first cohorts, stretched out on the ground and flogged 
half to death. 

Presently he broke out into every form of cruelty, for which 
he never lacked occasion, venting it on the friends and even 
the acquaintances, first of his mother, then of his grandsons 
and granddaughter, and finally of Sejanus. After the death of 
Sejanus he was more cruel than ever, which showed that his 
favorite was not wont to egg him on, but on the contrary gave 
him the opportunities which he himself desired. Yet in a brief 
and sketchy autobiography which he composed he had the 


audacity to write that he had punished Sejantis because he 
found him venting his hatred on the children of his son Ger- 
manicus. Whereas in fact he had himself put one of them to 
death after he had begun to suspect Sejanus, and another after 
the latter's downfall. 

It is a long story to run through his acts of cruelty in de- 
tail. It will be enough to mention the forms which they took, 
as samples of his barbarity. Not a day passed without an exe- 
cution, not even days that were sacred and holy, for he put 
some to death even on New Year's day. Many were accused 
and condemned with their children and even by their children. 
The relatives of the victims were forbidden to mourn for 
them. Special rewards were voted the accusers and sometimes 
even the witnesses. The word of no informer was doubted. 
Every crime was treated as capital, even the utterance of a 
few simple words. A poet was charged with having slandered 
Agamemnon in a tragedy, and a writer of history of having 
called Brutus and Cassius the last of the Romans. The writers 
were at once put to death and their works destroyed, although 
they had been read with approval in public some years before 
in the presence of Augustus himself. Some of those who were 
consigned to prison were denied not only the consolation of 
reading, but even the privilege of conversing and talking to- 
gether. Of those who were cited to plead their causes some 
opened their veins at home, feeling sure of being condemned 
and wishing to avoid annoyance and humiliation, while others 
drank poison in full view of the Senate. Yet the wounds of the 
former were bandaged and they were hurried half -dead, but 
still quivering, to the prison. Every one of those who were exe- 
cuted was thrown out upon the Stairs of Mourning and 
dragged to the Tiber with hooks, as many as twenty being so 
treated in a single day, including women and children. Since 
ancient usage made it impious to strangle maidens, young 
girls were first violated by the executioner and then strangled* 
Those who wished to die were forced to live; for he thought 
death so light a punishment that when he heard that one of 
the accused, Carnulus by name, had anticipated his execution, 
he cried: "Carnulus has given me the slip"; and when he was 
inspecting the prisons and a man begged for a speedy death, 
he replied: "1 have not yet become your friend." An ex-consul 


has recorded in bis Annals that once at a large dinner-party, at 
which the writer himself was present, Tiberius was suddenly 
asked in a loud voice by one of the dwarfs that stood beside 
the table among the jesters why Paconius, who was charged 
with treason, remained so long alive; and that the Emperor at 
the time chided him for his saucy tongue, but a few days later 
wrote to the Senate to decide as soon as possible about the 
execution of Paconius. 

He increased his cruelty and carried it to greater lengths, 
exasperated by what he learned about the death of his son 
Drusus. At first supposing that he had died of disease, due to 
his bad habits, on finally learning that he had been poisoned 
by the treachery of his wife Livilla and Sejanus, there was no 
one whom Tiberius spared from torment and death. Indeed, 
he gave himself up so utterly for whole days to the investiga- 
tion of this affair and was so wrapped up in it, that when he 
was told of the arrival of a host of his from Rhodes, whom he 
had invited to Rome in a friendly letter, he had him put to the 
torture at once, supposing that some one had come whose testi- 
mony was important for the case. On discovering his mistake, 
he even had the man put to death, to keep him from giving 
publicity to the wrong done him. 

At Capri they still point out the scene of his executions, 
from which he used to order that those who had been con- 
demned after long and exquisite tortures be cast headlong into 
the sea before his eyes, while a band of marines waited below 
for the bodies and broke their bones with boathooks and oars, 
to prevent any breath of life from remaining in them. Among 
various forms of torture he had devised this one: he would 
trick men into loading themselves with copious draughts of 
wine, and then on a sudden tying up their private parts, would 
torment them at the same time by the torture of the cords and 
of the stoppage of their water. And had not death prevented 
him, and Thrasyllus, purposely it is said, induced him to put 
off some things through hope of a longer life, it is believed 
that still more would have perished, and that he would not 
even have spared the rest of his grandsons; for he had his sus- 
picions of Gaius and detested Tiberius as the fruit of adultery. 
And this is highly probable, for he used at times to call Priam 
Jiappy, because he had outlived all his kindred. 


Many things go to show, not only how hated and execrable 
he was all this time, but also that he lived a life of extreme 
fear and was even exposed to insult. He forbade any one to 
consult soothsayers secretly and without witnesses. Indeed, 
he even attempted to do away with the oracles near the city, 
but forbore through terror at the divine power of the Prae- 
nestine Lots; for though he had them sealed up in a chest 
and brought to Rome, yet they were not to be found in it until 
the box was taken back tQ, the temple. Not daring to lose sight 
of one or two ex-consuls to whom he had assigned provinces 
he detained them at Rome so long he finally appointed their 
successors several years later without their having left the city* 
In the meantime they retained their titles, and he even con- 
tinued to assign them numerous commissions, to execute 
through their deputies and assistants. 

After the exile of his daughter-in-law and grandchildren he 
never moved them anywhere except in fetters and in a tightly 
closed litter, while a guard of soldiers kept any who met them 
on the road from looking at them or even from stopping as 
they went by. 

When Sejanus was plotting revolution, although he saw 
the man's birthday publicly celebrated and his golden statues 
honored everywhere, yet it was with difficulty that he at last 
overthrew him, rather by craft and deceit than by his imperial 
authority. First of all, to remove him from his person under 
color of showing him honor, he chose him as his colleague in 
a fifth consulship, which, with this very end in view, he as- 
sumed after a long interval while absent from the city. Then 
beguiling him with hope of marriage into the imperial family 
and of the tribunicial power, he accused him when he least, 
expected it in a shameful and pitiable speech, begging the 
Senators among other things to send one of the Consuls l to 
bring him, a lonely old man, into their presence under military 
protection. Even then distrustful and fearful of an outbreak, 
he had given orders that his grandson Drusus, whom he still 
kept imprisoned in Rome, should be set free, if occasion de- 
manded, and made commander-in-chief. He even got ships 
ready and thought of flight to some of the legions, constantly 

1 This must mean one of the substitute consuls who assumed the 
honor for part of the year. 


watching f torn a high cliff for the signals which he had ordered 
to be raised afar off as each step was taken, for fear the mes- 
sengers should be delayed. But even when the conspiracy of 
Sejanus was crushed, he was no whit more confident or cou- 
rageous, but for the next nine months he did no leave the villa 
which is called lo's. 

His anxiety of mind became torture because of reproaches 
of all kinds from every quarter, since every single one of those 
who were condemned to death heaped all kinds of abuse upon 
him, either to his face or by hand-bills placed in the Senator's 
seats at the shows. By these, however, he was most diversely 
affected, now through a sense of shame desiring that they all 
be concealed and kept secret, sometimes scorning them and 
producing them of his own accord and giving them publicity. 
Why, he was even attacked by Artabanus, King of the Par- 
ihians, who charged him in a letter with the murder of his 
kindred, with other bloody deeds, and with shameless and 
dissolute living, counseling him to gratify the intense and just 
Jiatred of the citizens as soon as possible by a voluntary death. 

At last in utter self-disgust he all but admitted the ex* 
tremity of his wretchedness in a letter 1 which began thus: 
"If I know what to write to you, Fathers of the Senate, or how 
to write it, or what to leave unwritten at present, may all 
Gods and Goddesses visit me with more utter destruction than 
I feel that I am daily suffering." Some think that through his 
skill in divining the future he had foreknowledge of this situa- 
tion, and knew long beforehand what detestation and ill-repute 
one day awaited him; and that therefore when he became 
Emperor, he positively refused the title of "Father of his 
Country" and to allow the Senate to take oath to support his 
acts, for fear that he might presently be found undeserving 
of such honors and thus be the more shamed. In fact, this may 
be gathered from the speech which he made regarding these 
two matters; for example, when he says: "I shall always be 
consistent and never change my ways so long as I am in my 
senses. But for the sake of precedent the Senate should beware 
of binding itself to support the acts of any man, since he might 
through some mischance suffer a change." Again: "If you ever 

* Quoted also by Tacitus in Annals VI, 6. 


come to feel any doubt," he says, "of my character or of my 
heartfelt devotion to you (and before that happens, I pray 
that my last day may save me from this altered opinion of 
me), the title of Father of my Country will give me no ad- 
ditional honor, but will be a reproach to you, either for your 
hasty action in conferring the appellation upon me, or for 
your inconsistency in changing your estimate of my char- 

He was large and strong of frame, and of a stature above 
the average; x broad of shoulders and chest; well proportioned 
and symmetrical front head to foot. His left hand was the 
more nimble and stronger, and its joints were so powerful 
that he could bore through a fresh, sound apple with his 
finger, and break the head of a boy, or even a young man, 
with a fillip. He was of fair complexion and wore his hair 
rather long at the back, so much so as even to cover the 
nape of his neck, which was apparently a style affected by his 
family. His face was handsome, but would break out on a 
sudden with many pimples. His eyes were unusually large 
and. strange to say, had the power of seeing even at night and 
in the dark. But that was only for a short time when first 
opened after sleep, for they soon grew dim-sighted again. He 
strode along with his neck stiff and bent forward, usually with 
a stern countenance and for the most part in silence, never 
or very rarely conversing with his companions, and then speak- 
ing with great deliberation and with a kind of supple move- 
ment of his fingers. All of these mannerisms of his, which were 
disagreeable and signs of arrogance, were remarked by Augus- 
tus, who often tried to excuse them to the Senate and people 
by declaring that they were natural failings, and not inten- 
tional. He enjoyed excellent health, which was all but perfect 
during nearly the whole of his reign, 2 although from the thir- 
tieth year of his age he took care of it according to his own 
ideas, without the aid or advice of physicians. 

Although somewhat neglectful of the Gods and of religious 
matters, being addicted to astrology and firmly convinced that 

1 The average height of the Roman male was S feet 2 inches. 

2 Which has been used to support the contention that he could not 
have been as debauched as alleged. Nero's health was also good! (Set 


everything was in the hands of fate, he was nevertheless im- 
moderately afraid of thunder. Whenever the sky was lower- 
ing, he always wore a laurel wreath, because it is said that 
kind of leaf is never touched by lightning. 

He was greatly devoted to liberal studies in both languages, 
In his Latin oratory he followed Messala Corvinus, to whom 
he had given attention in his youth, when Messala was an old 
man. But he so obscured his style by excessive mannerisms 
1 and pedantry, that he was thought to speak much better off- 
hand than in a prepared address. He also composed a lyric 
poem, entitled "A Lament for the Death of Lucius Caesar, " 
and made Greek verses in imitation of Euphorion, Rhianus, 
and Parthenius, 1 poets of whom he was very fond, placing 
their busts in the public libraries among those of the eminent 
writers of old. On this account many learned men vied with 
one another in issuing commentaries on their works and dedi- 
cating them to the Emperor. Yet his special aim was a knowl- 
edge of mythology, which he carried to a silly and laughable 
extreme; for he used to test even the grammarians, 2 a class 
of men in whom, as I have said, he was especially interested, 
by questions something like this: "Who was Hecuba's 
mother?" "What was the name of Achilles among the maid- 
ens?" 8 "What were the Sirens in the habit of singing?" More- 
over, on the first day that he entered the Senate after the 
death of Augustus, to satisfy at once the demands of filial 
piety and of religion, he offered sacrifice after the example of 
Minos with incense and wine, but without a fluteplayer, as 
Minos had done in ancient times on the death of his son. 

Though he spoke Greek readily and fluently, yet he would 
not use it on all occasions and especially avoided it in the 
Senate. So much so that before using the word "monopo- 
lium," 4 he begged pardon for the necessity of employing a 
foreign term. Again, when the word Sfiftifjfia 5 was read in a 

1 Obscure Greek poets whose writings were full of either fabulous 
or love stories. 

2 Who were also teachers of literature. 

8 The daughters of King Lycomedes, in the Isle of Seyros, where he 
feigned himself a maiden. 

4 "Monopoly," a Greek word transliterated into Latin. 

8 The Greek word for inlaid ornaments of metal attached to cups 
and other vessels. There is no exact equivalent in Latin. 


decree of the Senate, he recommended that it to be changed 
and a native word substituted for the foreign one; and if one 
could not be found, that the idea be expressed by several 
words, if necessary, and by periphrasis. On another occasion, 
when a soldier was asked in Greek to give testimony, he for- 
bade him to answer except in Latin. 

Twice only during the whole period of his retirement did 
he try to return to Rome. Once he sailed in a trireme as far 
as the gardens near the Naumachia, 1 after first posting a 
guard along the banks of the Tiber to keep off those who came 
out to meet him. The second time he came up the Appian 
Way as far as the seventh milestone. But he returned after 
merely having a distant view of the city walls, without ap- 
proaching them, the first time for some unknown reason, 
the second through alarm at a portent. He had among his pets 
a serpent, and when he was going to feed it from his own 
hand, as his custom was, and discovered that it had been 
devoured by ants, he was warned to beware of the power of 
the multitude. So he went back in haste to Campania, fell 
ill at Astura, but recovering somewhat kept on to Circeii. 
To avoid giving any suspicion of his weak condition, he not 
only attended the games of the soldiers, but even threw 
down darts from his high seat at a board which was let into 
the arena. Immediately he was taken with a pain in the side, 
and then being exposed to a draught when he was overheated, 
his illness increased. For all that, he kept up for some time. 
While continuing his journey as far as Misenum he made 
no change in his usual habits, not even giving up his ban- 
quets and other pleasures, partly from lack of self-denial and 
partly to conceal his condition. Indeed, when the physician 
Charicles, having obtained leave of absence, on rising to 
leave the dining-room took his hand to kiss it, Tiberius, 
thinking that he was trying to feel his pulse, urged him to 
remain and take his place again, and prolonged the dinner 
to a late hour. Even then he did not give up his custom of 
standing in the middle of the dining-room with a Lictor by 
his side and addressing all the guests by name as they said 

1 The artificial lake near the Tiber where Julius Caesar exhibited a 
naval fight. (See Julius.) 


Meanwhile, having read in the proceedings of the Senate 
that some of those under accusation, about whom he had 
written briefly, merely stating that they had been named by 
an informer, had been discharged without a hearing, he cried 
out in anger that he was held in contempt, and resolved to 
return to Capri at any cost, since he would not risk any step 
except from his place of refuge. Detained, however, by bad 
weather and the increasing violence of his illness, he died a 
little later in the villa of Lucullus, in the seventy-eighth year 
of his age and the twenty-third of his reign, on the seven- 
teenth day before the Kalends of April, in the consulship 
of Gnaeus Acerronius Proculus and Gaius Pontius Nigrinus. 

Some think that Gaius 1 gave him a slow and wasting 
poison, others that during convalescence from an attack of 
fever food was refused him when he asked for it. Some say 
that a pillow was thrown upon his face, when he came to and 
asked for a ring which had been taken from him during a 
fainting fit. Seneca writes that conscious of his approaching 
end, he took off the ring, held it a while, as if to give it to 
some one, but, putting it back, he clenched his left hand 
and lay for a long time motionless; and that he then sud- 
denly called for his attendants, and on receiving no response, 
got up; but his strength failed him and he fell dead near the 

On his last birthday he dreamt that the Apollo of Temenos, 
a statue of remarkable size and beauty, which he had brought 
from Syracuse to be set up in the library of the new temple, 
appeared to him in a dream, declaring that it could not be 
dedicated by Tiberius. A few days before his death the light- 
house at Capri was wrecked by an earthquake. At Misenum 
the ashes from the glowing cods and embers which had been 
brought in to warm his dining-room, after they had died out 
and been for a long time cold, suddenly blazed up in the 
early evening and glowed without cessation until late at 

The people were so glad of his death, that at the first 
news of it some ran about shouting, "Tiberius to the Tiber," 
while others prayed to Mother Earth and the Manes to allow 

1 Gaius Caligula (son of Germanicus), the next Emperor. 


the dead man no abode except among the damned. Still 
others threatened his body with the hook and the Stairs of 
Mourning, especially embittered by a recent outrage, added 
to the memory of his former cruelty. It had been provided 
by decree of the Senate that the execution of the condemned 
should in all cases be put off for ten days, and it chanced that 
the punishment of some fell due on the day when the news 
came about Tiberius. The poor wretches begged the public 
for protection. But since in the continued absence of Gaius 
there was no one who could be approached and appealed to, 
the jailers, fearing to* act contrary to the law, strangled them 
and cast out their bodies on the Stairs of Mourning. Therefore 
hatred of the tyrant waxed greater, since his cruelty endured 
even after his death. When the funeral procession left Mise- 
num, many cried out that the body ought rather to be car- 
ried to Atella, and half-burned in the amphitheater. But it 
was taken to Rome by the soldiers and reduced to ashes with 
public ceremonies. 

Two years before his death he had made two copies of a 
will, one in his own hand and the other in that of a freedman, 
but of the same content, and had caused them to be signed 
and sealed by persons of the very lowest condition. In this 
will he named his grandsons, Gaius, son of Germanicus, and 
Tiberius, son of Drusus, heirs to equal shares of his estate, 
each to be sole heir in case of the other's death. Besides, he 
gave legacies to several, including the Vestal Virgins, as well 
as to each and every man of the soldiers and the Commons 
of Rome, with separate ones to the masters of the city wards 



GERMANICUS, father of Gaius Caesar, son of Drusus and 
the younger Antonia, after being adopted by his paternal 
uncle Tiberius, held the quaestorship five years before the 
legal age and passed directly to the consulship. When the 
death of Augustus was announced, he was sent to the army 
in Germany, where it is hard to say whether his filial piety 
or his courage was more conspicuous. For, although all the 
legions obstinately refused to accept Tiberius as Emperor, 
and offered him the rule of the State, 1 he held them to their 
allegiance. And later he won a victory over the enemy and 
celebrated a triumph. Then chosen Consul for a second time, 
before he entered on his term he was hurried off to restore 
order in the Orient, and after vanquishing the King of 
Armenia and reducing Cappadocia to the form of a province, 
died of a lingering illness at Antioch, in the thirty-fourth year 
of his age. There was some suspicion that he was poisoned. 
For besides the dark spots which appeared all over his body 
and the froth which flowed from his mouth, after he had been 
reduced to ashes his heart was found entire among his bpnes; 
and it is supposed to be a characteristic of that organ that 
when steeped in poison it cannot be destroyed by fire. 

Now the belief was that he met his death through the wiles 
of Tiberius, aided and abetted by Gnaeus Piso. 2 This man had 
been made Governor of Syria at about that time, and realizing 
that he must give offense either to the father or the son, as if 
there were no alternative, he never ceased to show the bitter- 
est enmity towards Germanicus in word and deed, even after 
the latter fell ill. In consequence Piso narrowly escaped being 
torn to pieces by the people on his return to Rome, and was 
condemned to death by the Senate. 

1 As told in Tiberius. 

2 Also discussed in Tiberius. 



It is the general opinion that Germanicus possessed all the 
highest qualities of body and mind, to a degree never equalled 
by any one. He was a handsome man of extraordinary courage 
and surpassing ability in the oratory and learning of Greece 
and Rome. He was, besides, a man of unexampled kindliness 
endowed with a remarkable desire and capacity for winning 
men's regard and inspiring their affection. His legs were too 
slender for the rest of his figure, but he gradually brought 
them to proper proportions by constant horseback riding after 
meals. He often slew a foeman in hand-to-hand combat. He 
pleaded causes even after receiving the triumphal regalia. 
And among other fruits of his studies he left some Greek 
comedies. Unassuming at home and abroad, he always en- 
tered the free and federate towns without Lictors. Wherever 
he came upon the tombs of distinguished men, he always of- 
fered sacrifice to their shades. Planning to bury in one mound 
the old and scattered relics of those who fell in the over- 
throw of Varus, he was the first to attempt to collect and as- 
semble them with his own hand. Even towards his detractors, 
whosoever they were and whatever their motives, he was so 
mild and lenient, that when Piso was annulling his decrees 
and maltreating his dependents, he could not make up his 
mind to break with him, until he found himself assailed also 
by potions and spells. 1 Even then he went no farther than 
formally to renounce Piso's friendship in the old-time fashion, 
and to bid his household avenge him, in case anything should 
befall him. 

He reaped plentiful fruit from these virtues, for he was 
so respected and beloved by his kindred that Augustus (to 
say nothing of the rest of his relatives) after hesitating for 
a long time whether to appoint him his successor, had him 
adopted by Tiberius. He was so popular with the masses, 
that, according to many writers, whenever he came to any 
place or left one, he was sometimes in danger of his life 
from the crowds that met him or saw him off. In fact, when 
be returned from Germany after quelling the outbreak, all 
the cohorts of the praetorian guard went forth to meet him, 
although orders had been given that only two should go, and 

1 Fuller details are given by Tacitus, Annals II, 69. 


the whole populace, regardless of age, sex, or rank, ppured out 
of Rome as far as the twentieth milestone. 

Yet far greater and stronger tokens of regard were shown 
at the time of his death and immediately afterwards. On the 
day when he passed away the temples were stoned and the 
altars of the Gods thrown down, 1 while some flung their 
household Gods into the street and cast out their newly born 
children. 2 Even barbarian peoples, so they say, who were 
engaged in war with us or with one another, unanimously 
consented to a truce, as if all in common had suffered a 
domestic tragedy. It is said that some princes put off their 
beards and had their wives' heads shaved, as a token of the 
deepest mourning and that even the King of Kings 3 sus- 
pended his exercise at hunting and the banquets with his 
grandees, which among the Parthians is a sign of public 

At Rome when the community, in grief and consternation 
at the first report of his illness, was awaiting further news, 
and suddenly after nightfall a report at last spread abroad, 
on doubtful authority, that he had recovered, a general 
rush was made from every side to the Capitol with torches 
and victims, and the temple gates were all but torn off, that 
nothing might hinder them in their eagerness to pay their 
vows. Tiberius was roused from sleep by the cries of the 
rejoicing throng, who all united in singing: 

"Rome is safe, our country is safe, for our Germanicus is safe." 

But when it was at last made known that he was no more, 
no solace could assuage the public grief nor any edict check 
it. It continued even during the festal days of the month of 

The fame of the deceased and regret for his loss were in- 
creased by the horror of the times which followed, since all 
believed, and with good reason, that the cruelty of Tiberius, 
which soon burst forth, had been held in check through his 
respect and awe for Germanicus. 

1 For permitting such a man to die. 

2 Why raise children any more? 

8 A title assumed by various eastern potentates. 


He had to wife Agrippina, daughter of Marcus Agrippa 
and Julia, who bore him nine children. Two of these were 
taken off when they were still in infancy, and one just as he 
was reaching the age of boyhood, a charming child, whose 
statue, in the guise of Cupid, Livia dedicated in the temple 
of the Capitoline Venus, while Augustus had another placed 
in his bedchamber and used to kiss it fondly whenever he 
entered the room. The other children survived their father, 
three girls, Agrippina, Drusilla, and Livilla, born in succes- 
sive years, and three boys, Nero, Drusus, and Gaius Caesar. 
Nero and Drusus were adjudged public enemies by the Senate 
on the accusation of Tiberius. 1 

Gaius Caesar was born the day before the Kalends of 
September in the consulship of his father and Gaius Fonteius 
Capito. Conflicting testimony makes his birthplace uncertain. 
Gnaeus Lentulus Gaetulicus writes that he was born at 
Tibur, Plinius Secundus among the Treveri, in a village 
called Ambitarvium above the Confluence. Pliny adds as 
proof that altars are shown there, inscribed "For the Delivery 
of Agrippina." Verses which were in circulation soon after 
he became Emperor indicate that he was begotten in the 
winter-quarters of the legions: 

"Born in a camp, reared with soldiers, he; 
A sign assured he would a ruler be." 

I myself find in the public records that he first saw the light 
at Antium. Pliny charges Gaetulicus as guilty of a flattering 
lie, merely to soothe the vanity of a young, conceited prince, 
by giving him the added luster of being born in a city sacred 
to Hercules, adding that he advanced this false assertion with 
the more assurance, because, the year before the birth of 
Gaius, Germanicus really did have a son born to him at Tibur, 
also called Gaius Caesar, of whose lovable disposition and 
untimely death I have already spoken. Pliny has erred in his 
chronology. For the historians of Augustus agree that Ger- 
manicus was not sent to Germany until the close of his con- 
sulship, when Gaius was already born. Moreover, the inscrip- 
tion on the altar adds no strength to Pliny's view, for Agrip- 

1 See Tiberius for further details. 


pina twice gave birth to daughters in that region, and any 
childbirth, regardless of sex, is called puerperium, since the 
men of old called girls puerae, just as they called boys puelli. 
Furthermore, we have a letter written by Augustus to his 
granddaughter Agrippina, a few months before he died, about 
the Gaius in question (for no other child of the name was 
still alive at that time), reading as follows: " Yesterday 1 
arranged with Talarius and Asillius to bring you your boy 
Gaius on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of June, if it 
be the will of the Gods. I send with him besides one of my 
slaves who is a physician, and I have written Germanicus to 
keep him if he wishes. Farewell, my own Agrippina, and 
take care to come in good health to your Germanicus." 

I think it is clear enough that Gaius could not have been 
born in a place to which he was first taken from Rome when 
he was nearly two years old. This letter also weakens cur 
confidence in the verses, the more so because they are anony- 
mous. We must then accept the only remaining testimony, 
that of the public record, particularly since Gaius loved 
Antium as if it were his native soil, always preferring it to 
all other places of retreat, and even thinking, it is said, of 
transferring thither the seat and abode of the empire through 
weariness of Rome. 

His surname Caligula l he derived from a joke of the 
troops, because he was brought up in their midst in the dress 
of a common soldier. To what extent besides he won their 
love and devotion by being reared in fellowship with them 
is especially evident from the fact that when they threatened 
mutiny after the death of Augustus and were ready for any 
act of madness, the mere sight of Gaius unquestionably 
calmed them. For they did not become quiet until they saw 
that he was being spirited away because of the danger frow 
their outbreak and taken for protection to the nearest town. 
Then at last they became contrite, and laying hold of the 
carriage and stopping it, begged to be spared the disgrace 
which was being put upon them. 

ffe attended his father also on his expedition to Syria. On 
his return from there he first lived with his mother and after 

^"Little Boot." The ctili$a, or half-boot, studded with nails, was tig 
usual shoe of the Roman soldier. 


her banishment, with his great-grandmother Livia. When 
Livia died, though he was not yet of age, he spoke her eulogy 
from the rostra. Then he fell to the care of his grandmother 
Antonia, and in the nineteenth year of his age he was called 
to Capri by Tiberius, on the same day assuming the gown 
of manhood and shaving his first beard, but without any such 
ceremony as had attended the coming of age of his brothers. 
Although at Capri every kind of wile was resorted to by those 
who tried to lure him or force him to utter complaints, he 
never gave them any satisfaction, ignoring the ruin of his 
kindred as if nothing at all had happened, passing over his 
own ill-treatment with an incredible pretense of indifference, 
and so obsequious towards his grandfather and his household, 
that it was well said of him that no one had ever been a better 
slave or a worse master. 

Yet even at that time he could not control his natural 
cruelty and viciousness, but he was a most eager witness of 
the tortures and executions of those who suffered punishment, 
revelling at night in gluttony and adultery, disguised in a 
wig and a long robe. He was also passionately devoted to the 
theatrical arts of dancing and singing, in which Tiberius very 
willingly indulged him, in the hope that through these his 
savage nature might be softened. This last was so clearly 
evident to the shrewd old man, that he used to say now and 
then that to allow Gaius to live would prove the ruin of him- 
self and of all men, and that he was rearing a viper for the 
Roman people and a Phaethon for the world. 

Not so very long afterward Gaius took to wife Junia 
Claudilla, 1 daughter of Marcus Silanus, a man of noble 
rank. He was then appointed Augur to succeed his brother 
Drusus. But before he was invested with the office he was 
advanced to that of Pontiff, with strong commendation of 
his dutiful conduct and general character. For, since the 
court was deserted and deprived of its other supports, after 
Sejanus had been suspected of hostile designs and pres- 
ently put out of the way, he was little by little encouraged 
to look forward to the succession. To have a better chance 
of realizing this, after losing Junia in childbirth, he seduced 

1 Diminutive of Claudia. Suetonius often uses this more familiar 
form when speaking of women. 


Ennia Naevia, wife of Macro, who at that time commanded 
the praetorian guard, even promising to marry her if he be- 
came Emperor, and guaranteeing this promise by an oath 
and a written contract. Having through her wormed himself 
into Macro's favor, 1 he poisoned Tiberius, as some think, 
and ordered that his ring be taken from him while he still 
breathed, and then suspecting that he was trying to hold fast 
to it, that a pillow be put over his face; or even strangled the 
old man with his own hand, immediately ordering the cruci- 
fixion of a freedman who cried out at the awful deed. And 
this is likely enough, For some writers say that Caligula him- 
self later admitted, not it is true that he had committed par- 
ricide, but that he had at least meditated it at one time. 
For they say that he constantly boasted, in speaking of his 
filial piety, that he had entered the bedchamber of the sleep- 
ing Tiberius dagger in hand, to avenge the death of his 
mother and brothers, but that, seized with pity, he threw 
down the dagger and went out again; and that though 
Tiberius knew of this, he had never dared to make any 
inquiry or take any action. 

By thus gaining the throne he fulfilled the highest hopes 
of the Roman people, or I may say of all mankind, since he 
was the prince most earnestly desired by the great part of 
the provincials and soldiers, many of whom had known him 
in his infancy, as well as by the whole body of the city 
populace, because of the memory of his father Germanicus 
and pity for a family that had been almost destroyed. Ac- 
cordingly, when he set out from Misenum, though he was in 
mourning garb and escorting the body of Tiberius, yet his 
progress was marked by altars, victims, and blazing torches, 
and he was met by a dense and joyful throng, who called him 
besides other propitious names their "star," their "chick," 
their "babe," and their "nursling." 

When he entered the city, full and absolute power was at 
once put into his hands by the unanimous consent of the 
Senate and of the mob, which forced its way into the House, 
and no attention was paid to the wish of Tiberius, who in his 
will had named his other grandson, still a boy, joint heir 

1 Macro was instrumental in the fall of Sejanus. 


with Caligula. So great was the public rejoicing, that within 
the next three months, or less than that, more than a hundred 
and sixty thousand victims are said to have been slain in 

A few days after this, when he crossed to the islands near 
Campania, vows were put up for his safe return, while no 
one let slip even the slightest chance of giving testimony to 
his anxiety and regard for his safety. But when he fell ill, 
they all spent the whole night about the Palace, some even 
vowing to fight as gladiators, while others posted placards 
offering their lives if the ailing prince were spared. 1 To this 
unbounded love of his citizens was added marked devotion 
from foreigners. Artabanus, for example, King of the Par* 
thians, who was always outspoken in his hatred and contempt 
for Tiberius, voluntarily sought Caligula's friendship. He 
came to a conference with the consular Governor, and, cross- 
ing the Euphrates, paid homage to the Roman eagles and 
standards and to the statues of the Caesars. 

Gaius himself tried to rouse men's devotion by courting 
popularity in every way. After eulogizing Tiberius with many 
tears before the assembled people and giving him a mag- 
nificent funeral, he at once posted off to Pandateria and the 
Pontian islands, to remove the ashes of his mother and brother 
to Rome; and in stormy weather, too, to make his filial piety 
the more conspicuous. He approached their remains with 
reverence and placed them in the urns with his own hands. 
With no less theatrical effect he brought them to Ostia in a 
bireme with a banner set in the stern, and from there up the 
Tiber to Rome, where he had them carried to the Mausoleum 2 
on two biers by the most distinguished men of the order of 
Knights, in the middle of the day, when the streets were 
crowded. He appointed funeral sacrifices, too, to be offered 
each year with due ceremony, as well as games in the Circus 
in honor of his mother, providing a carriage to carry her image 
in the procession. But in memory of his father he gave to the 
month of September the name of Germanicus. After this, 

1 According to the widespread belief the death of one man might 
be redeemed with that of another. Thev were compelled to fulfill their 

2 That built by Augustus. 


by a single decree of the Senate, he heaped upon his grand- 
mother Antonia whatever honors Livia Augusta had ever en- 
joyed; took his uncle Claudius, who up to that time had been 
a Roman Knight, as his colleague in the consulship; adopted 
his brother l Tiberius on the day that he assumed the gown 
of manhood, and gave him the title of Chief of the Youth: 1 
He caused the names of his sisters to be included in all oaths: 
"And I will not hold myself and my children dearer than I 
do Gaius and his sisters"; as well as in the propositions of the 
Consuls: "Favor and good fortune attend Gaius Caesar and 
his sisters." 

With the same desire for popularity he recalled those who 
had been condemned to banishment; took no cognizance of 
any charges that remained untried from an earlier time; had 
all documents relating to the cases of his mother and brothers 
carried to the Forum and burned, to give no informer or wit- 
ness occasion for further fear, having first loudly called the 
Gods to witness that he had neither read nor touched any of 
them. He refused a note which was offered him regarding his 
own safety, maintaining that he had done nothing to make 
any one hate him, and that he had no ears for informers. 

He banished from the city the sexual perverts called 
spintriae, 8 barely persuaded not to drown them in the sea. 
The wrtings of Titus Labienus, Cremutius Cordus, and Cas- 
sius Severus, which had been suppressed by decrees of the 
Senate, 4 he allowed to be htinted up, circulated, and read, 
saying thai it was wholly to his interest that everything which 
happened be handed down to posterity. He published the 
accounts of the empire, which had regularly been made public 
by Augustus, a practice discontinued by Tiberius. He allowed 
the magistrates unrestricted jurisdiction, without appeal to 
himself. He revised the lists of the Roman Knights strictly 
and scrupulously, yet with due moderation, publicly taking 
their horses from those guilty of any wicked or .scandalous 

1 Son of his brother Drusus. He later put him to death. For which 
see Chapter XXIII. 

2 Originally the title of the Knights under forty-five who wetre in 
active service. Conferred on C. and L. Caesar by Augustus, It became 
the designation of the heir-apparent. 

8 About which see Tiberius. 

Because they were too frank, of course. 


act, but merely omitting to read the names of men convicted 
of lesser offenses. To lighten the labor of the jurors, he added 
a fifth division to the previous four. He tried also to restore 
the suffrage to the people by reviving the custom of elec- 
tions. 1 He at once paid faithfully and without dispute the 
legacies named in the will of Tiberius, though this had been 
set aside, as well as in that of Julia Augusta, which Tiberius 
had suppressed. He remitted the tax of one half of one per 
cent on auction sales in Italy. He made good to many their 
losses from fires. And whenever he restored Kings to their 
thrones, he allowed them all the arrears of their taxes and 
their revenues which had accrued in the interval, as in the 
case of Antiochus of Commagene, where the confiscation 
would have amounted to a hundred million sesterces. 2 To 
make it known that he encouraged every kind of noble action, 
he gave eight hundred thousand sesterces 8 to a freedwoman, 
because she had kept silence about the guilt of her patron, 
though subjected to the utmost torture. Because of these 
acts, besides other honors, a golden shield was voted him, 
which was to be borne every year to the Capitol on an ap- 
pointed day by the Colleges of Priests, escorted by the 
Senate, while boys and girls of noble birth sang the praises 
of his virtues in a choral ode. It was further decreed that the 
day on which he began to reign should be called the Parilia, 
as a token that the city had been founded a second time. 

He held four consulships, one from the Kalends of July 
for two months, a second from the Kalends of January for 
thirty days, a third up to the Ides of January, and the fourth 
until the seventh day before the Ides of the same month. 
Of all these only the last two were continuous. The third he 
assumed at Lugdunum without a colleague, not, as some 
think, through arrogance or disregard of precedent, but be- 
cause at that distance from Rome he had been unable to 
get news of the death of the other Consul just before the 
day of the Kalends. He twice gave the people a largess of 

1 Julius Caesar had shared it with them. Augustus had only kept the 
form. Tiberius had deprived the Roman people of the last remnant of 
their part in the government. 

2 $4,100,000.00. 
8 $32,800.00. 


three hundred sesterces 1 each, and twice a lavish banquet to 
the Senate and the equestrian order, together with their wives 
and children. At the former of these he also distributed togas 
to the men, and to the women and children scarves of red 
and scarlet. Furthermore, to make a permanent addition to 
the public gayety, he added a day to the Saturnalia, and 
called it JuvenaUs. 

He gave several gladiatorial shows, some in the amphi- 
theater of Taurus and some in the Saepta, in which he in- 
troduced pairs of African and Campanian boxers, the pick 
of both regions. He - did not always preside at the games in 
person, but sometimes assigned the honor to the magistrates 
or to friends. He exhibited stage-plays continually, of vari- 
ous kinds and in many different places, sometimes even by 
night, lighting up the whole city. He also threw various sorts 
of gifts among the people to be scrambled for, and gave each 
man a basket of victuals. During the feasting he sent his 
share to a Roman Knight opposite him, who was eating with 
evident relish and appetite, while to a Senator for the same 
reason he gave a commission naming him Praetor out of the 
regular order. He also gave many games in the Circus, last- 
ing from early morning until evening, introducing between 
the races now a baiting of panthers and now the maneuvers 
of the game called Troy; some, too, of special splendor, in 
which the Circus was strewn with red and green, while the 
charioteers were all men of senatorial rank. He also started 
some games off-hand, when a few people called for them from 
the neighboring balconies, as he was inspecting the outfit 
of the Circus from the Gelotian house. 

Besides this, he devised a novel and unheard-of kind of 
show. He bridged the gap between Baiae and the mole at 
Puteoli, a distance of about thirty-six hundred paces, by 
bringing together merchant ships from all sides and anchor- 
ing them in a double line, after which a mound of earth 
was heaped upon them and fashioned in the manner of the 
Appian Way. Over this bridge he rode back and forth for 
two successive days, the first day on a caparisoned horse, 
himself resplendent u> a crown of oak leaves, a buckler, a 

1 $15.00. 


sword r and a cloak of cloth of gold; on the second,, in the 
dress of a charioteer in a car drawn by a pair of famous 
horses, carrying before him a boy named Dareus, one of the 
hostages from Parthia, and attended by the entire praetorian 
guard and a company of his friends in Gallic chariots. I know 
that many have supposed that Gaius devised this kind of 
bridge in rivalry of Xerxes, who excited no little admiration 
by bridging the much narrower Hellespont; others, that it 
was to inspire fear in Germany and Britain, on which he had 
designs, by the fame of some stupendous work. But when I 
was a boy, I used to hear my grandfather say that the reason 
for the work, as revealed by the Emperor's confidential cour- 
tiers, was that Thrasyllus the astrologer had declared to 
Tiberius, when he was worried about his successor and in- 
dined towards his natural grandson, that Gaius had no more 
chance of becoming Emperor than of riding about over the 
gulf of Baiae with horses. 

He also gave shows in foreign lands, Athenian games at 
Syracuse in Sicily, and miscellaneous games at Lugdunum 
[Lyons] in Gaul. At the latter place he also gave a contest in 
Greek and Latin oratory, in which, they say, the losers gave 
prizes to the victors and were forced to compose eulogies upon 
them, while those who were least successful were ordered to 
erase their writings with a sponge or with their tongue, unless 
they elected rather to be beaten with rods or thrown into 
the neighboring river. 

He completed the public works which had been half fin- 
ished under Tiberius, namely the temple of Augustus and 
the theater of Pompey. He likewise began an aqueduct in 
the region near Tibur and an amphitheater beside the Saepta, 
the former finished by his successor Claudius, while the latter 
was abandoned. At Syracuse he repaired the city walls, whicfy 
had fallen into ruin through lapse of time, and the temples 
of the Gods, lie had planned, besides, to rebuild the palace of 
Polycraes at Samos, to finish (he temple of the Didyrnaean 
Apollo at Ephesus, to found a city high up in the Alps, but, 
above all, to dig a canal through, the Isthmus in Greece, and 
he had already sent a Chief Centurion to survey the work. 

So much for Caligula as emperor. We must faow tell of his 
career as a monster. 


After he had assumed various surnames (for he was called 
"Pious," "Child of the Camp," "Father of the Armies," and 
"Greatest and Best of Caesars"), chancing to overhear some 
Kings, who had come to Rome to pay their respects to him, 
disputing at dinner about the nobility of their descent, he 

"Let there be one Lord, one King." * 

And he came near assuming a crown at once and changing 
the semblance of a*principate into the form of a monarchy. 
But on being reminded that he had risen above the elevation 
both of princes and Kings, he began from that time on to 
lay claim to divine majesty. He ordered that such statues of 
the Gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or their 
artistic merit, including that of Jupiter of Olympia, 2 should 
be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and 
put his own in their place. He built out a part of the Palace 
as far as the Forum, and making the temple of Castor and 
Pollux its vestibule, he often took his place between the divine 
brethren, and exhibited himself there to be worshiped by 
all comers, some of whom hailed him as Jupiter Latiaris. He 
also set up a special temple to his own godhead, with priests 
and with victims of the choicest kind. In this temple was a 
life-sized statue of the Emperor in gold, which was dressed 
each day in clothing such as he wore himself. The richest 
citizens used all their influence to become priests of his cult 
and bid high for the honor. The victims were flamingoes,, 
peacocks, woodcock, guinea-hens and pheasants, offered day 
by day each after its own kind. At night he used constantly 
to invite the full and radiant moon to his embraces and his 
bed, while in the daytime he would talk confidentially with 
Jupiter Capitolinus, now whispering and then in turn put- 
ting his ear to the mouth of the God, now in louder and even 
angry language; for he was heard to make the threat; "Lift 
me up, or I'll lift thee." 8 Until, at last prevailed upon by the 

i Iliad II, 204. 
* By Pheidias. 

8 Iliad XXIII, 724, where after a long and indecisive wrestling bout 
Ajax thus challenges Ulysses to settle the contest. ' 


entreaties of the God, as he said, to come and live with him, 
he built a bridge over the temple of the Deified Augustus, 
and thus joined his Palace to the Capitol. Presently, to be 
nearer yet, he laid the foundations of a new house in the 
court of the Capitol. 

He did not wish to be thought the grandson of Agrippa, or 
called so, because of the latter's humble origin, and he grew 
very angry if any one in a speech or a song included Agrippa 
among the ancestors of the Caesars. He even boasted that 
his own mother was born in incest, which Augustus had com- 
mitted with his daughter Julia. And, not content with this 
slur on the memory of Augustus, he forbade the celebration 
of his victories at Actium and off Sicily by annual festivals, 
on the ground that they were disastrous and ruinous to the 
Roman people. He often called his great-grandmother Livia 
Augusta "a Ulysses in woman's dress," and he had the au- 
dacity to accuse her of low birth in a letter to the Senate, 
alleging that her maternal grandfather, Aufidius Lurco, had 
been nothing but a Decurion of Fundi, whereas that he held 
high offices at Rome is proved by public records. When his 
grandmother Antonia asked for a private interview, he re- 
fused it except in the presence of the Praefect Macro. By 
indignities of this kind, and annoyances he caused her death, 
although some think that he also gave her poison. After she 
was dead, he paid her no honor, but viewed her burning pyre 
from his dining-room. He had his brother * Tiberius put to 
death without warning, suddenly sending a Tribune of the 
soldiers to do the deed; besides driving his father-in-law 
Silanus to end his life by cutting his throat with a razor. His 
charge against the latter was that Silanus had not followed 
him when he put to sea in stormy weather, but had remained 
behind in the hope of taking possession of the city in case 
he should be lost in the storm. His charge against Tiberius 
was that his breath smelled of an antidote taken to guard 
against being poisoned at his hand. Now as a matter of fact, 
Silanus was subject to sea-sickness and wished to avoid the 
discomforts of the voyage, while Tiberius had taken medi- 
cine for a chronic cough, which was growing worse. As for 

1 Son of his brother Drusus. 


his uncle Claudius, he spared him merely as a laughing- 

He lived in habitual incest with all his sisters, and at a 
large banquet he placed each of them in turn below him, while 
his wife reclined above. Of these he is believed to have vio- 
lated Drusilla when he was still a minor, and even to have 
been caught lying with her by his grandmother Antonia, at 
whose house they were brought up in company. Afterwards, 
when she was the wife of Lucius Cassius Longinus, an ex- 
consul, he took her from him and openly treated her as his 
lawful wife. Also when he was sick he made her heir to his 
property and the throne. When she died, he appointed a 
season of public mourning, during which it was a capital 
offense to laugh, bathe, or dine in company with one's parents, 
wife, or children. He was so beside himself with grief that 
suddenly fleeing the city by night and traversing Campania, 
lie went to Syracuse and hurriedly returned from there with- 
out cutting his hair or shaving his beard. And he never after- 
wards took oath about matters of the highest moment, even 
before the assembly of the people or in the presence of the 
soldiers, except by the godhead of Drusilla. The rest of his 
sisters he did not love with so great affection, nor honor so 
highly, but often prostituted them to his favorites. He there- 
fore the more readily condemned them in the case of Aemilius 
Lepidus as adulteresses and privy to that conspiracy against 
him. And he not only made public letters in the handwriting 
of all of them, procured by fraud and seduction. He also 
consecrated to Mars the Avenger three swords with which 
his life was to have been taken, with an accompanying in- 
scription containing the cause of his so doing. 

It is not easy to decide whether in his marriages he acted 
more basely in contracting them, in repudiating them, or in 
continuing them. At the marriage of Livia Orestilla to Gaius 
Piso, he attended the ceremony himself, gave orders that the 
bride be taken to his own house, and within a few days di- 
vorced her. Two years later he banished her, because of a sus- 
picion that in the meantime she had gone back to her former 
husband. Others write that being an invited guest at their wed- 
ding banquet, he sent word to Piso, who reclined opposite to 
him: "Don't take liberties with my wife," and at once carried 


her, off with him from the table, the next day issuing a procla- 
mation that he had got himself a wife in the manner of Rocnu- 
lus and Augustus. When the statement was made that the 
grandmother of Lollia Paulina, who was married to Gaius 
Memmius, an ex-consul commanding armies, had once been a 
remarkably beautiful woman, he suddenly called Lollia from 
the province, separated her from her husband, and married 
her. Then in a short time, he put her away, witfc the command 
never to have intercourse with any one. Though Caesonia was 
neither beautiful nor young, and was already mother of three 
daughters by another, besides being a woman of reckless ex- 
travagance and wantonness, he loved her not only more pas- 
sionately but more faithfully, often exhibiting her to the 
soldiers riding by his side, decked with cloak, helmet and 
shield, and to his friends even in a state of nudity. He did not 
honor her with the title of wife until she had borne him a 
child, announcing on the selfsame day that he had married 
her and that he was the father of her babe. This babe, whom 
he named Julia Drusilla, he carried to the temples of all the 
goddesses, finally placing her in the lap of Minerva and com* 
mending to her the child's nurture and training. And no evi- 
dence convinced him so positively that she was sprung from 
his own loins as her savage temper, which was even then so 
violent that she would try to scratch the faces and eyes of 
the little children who played with her. 

It would be trivial and pointless to add to this an account 
of his treatment of his relatives and friends, Ptolemy, son of 
King Juba, his cousin (for he was the grandson of Mark 
Antony by Antony's daughter Selene), and in particular 
Macro himself and even Ennia, who helped him to the throne* 
All these were rewarded for their kinship and their faithful 
services by violent deaths. 

He was no whit more respectful or mild towards the Senate, 
allowing some who had held the hightest offices to run in their 
togas for several miles beside his chariot and to wait on him at 
table, standing napkin in hand either at the head of his couch, 
or at his feet. Others he secretly put to death, yet continued 
to send for them as if they were alive, after a few days falsely 
asserting that they had committed suicide. When the Consuls 
forgot to make proclamation of : his birthday, he deposed them, 


an4, I^f t the state for' three days without its highest magis- 
trates'. He flogged his Quaestor, who was charged with con- 
spiracy, stripping off the man's clothes and spreading them 
under the soldiers 7 feet, to give them a firm footing as they 
beat him. 

He treated the other orders with like insolence and cruelty. 
Being disturbed by the noise made by those who came in the 
middle of the night to secure the free seats in the Circus, he 
drove them all out with cudgels. In the confusion more than 
twenty Roman Knights were crushed to death, with as many 
matrons and a couatless number of others. At the plays in 
the theater, sowing discord between the Commons and the 
Knights, he scattered the gift tickets ahead of time, to induce 
the rabble to take the seats reserved for the equestrian order. 
At a gladiatorial show he would sometimes draw back the 
awnings when the sun was hottest and give orders that no one 
be allowed to leave; then removing the usual equipment, he 
would match worthless and decrepit gladiators against mangy 
wild beasts, and have sham fights between householders who 
were of good repute, but conspicuous for some bodily infirm- 
ity. Sometimes too he would shut up the granaries and con- 
demn the people to hunger. 

The following are special instances of his innate brutality. 
When cattle to feed the wild beasts which he had provided for 
a gladiatorial show were rather costly, he selected criminals 
to be devoured, and, merely taking a place in the middle of a 
colonnade, he reviewed the line of prisoners without examin- 
ing the charges and bade them be led away "from baldhead to 
baldhead." A man who had made a vow to fight in the arena, 
if the Emperor recovered, he compelled to keep his word< 
watched him as he fought sword in hand, and would not let 
him go until he was victorious, and then only after many en- 
treaties. Another who had offered his life for the same reason, 
but delayed to kill himself, he turned over to his slaves, with 
orders to drive him through the streets decked with sacred 
boughs and fillets, calling for the fulfillment of his ^ow, and 
finally hurl him from the embankment. Many men of honor- 
able rank were first disfigured with the marks of branding- 
irons and then condemned to the mines, to work at building 
roads, or to be thrown to the wild beasts ; or else he shut them 


up in cages on all fours, like animals, or had them sawn 
asunder. Not all these punishments were for serious offenses, 
but merely for criticizing one of his shows, or for never having 
sworn by his Genius. He forced parents to attend the execu- 
tions of their sons, 1 sending a litter for one man who pleaded 
ill health, and inviting another to dinner immediately after 
witnessing the death, and trying to rouse him to gayety and 
jesting by a great show of affability. He had the manager of 
his gladiatorial shows and beast-baitings beaten with chains 
in his presence for several successive days, and would not kill 
him until he was disgusted at the stench of his putrefied brain. 
He burned a writer of Atellan farces alive in the middle of the 
arena of the amphitheater, because of a humorous line of 
double meaning. When a Roman Knight on being thrown to 
the wild beasts loudly protested his innocence, he took him 
out, cut off his tongue, and put him back again. 

Having asked a man who had been recalled from an exile 
of long standing, how in the world he spent his time there, 
the man replied by way of flattery: "I constantly prayed the 
Gods for what has come to pass, that Tiberius might die and 
you become Emperor." Thereupon Caligula, thinking that his 
exiles were likewise praying for his death, sent emissaries from 
island to island to butcher them all. Wishing to have one of 
the Senators torn to pieces, he induced some of the members 
to assail him suddenly, on his entrance into the House, with 
the charge of being a public enemy, to stab him with their 
writing-irons, and turn him over to the rest to be mangled. 
His cruelty was *iot sated until he saw the man's limbs, mem- 
bers, and bowels dragged through the streets and heaped up 
before him. 

He added to the enormity of his crimes by the brutality of 
his language. He used to say that there was nothing in his own 
character which he admired and approved more highly than 
what he called his ddiwiQeyla, 2 that is to say, his shameless 
impudence. When his grandmother Antonia gave him some 
advice, he was not satisfied merely not to listen but replied: 

1 Corroborated by Seneca, in Dt Ira II, 33. 

9 A stoic term for a stoic virtue, meaning "immovable rigor." This in 
Caligula was callous indifference. Therefore Suetonius explains it as 
"his ffhftinflffft impudence*" 


"Remember that I have the right to do anything to any- 
body." When he was on the point of killing his brother, and 
suspected that he had taken drugs as a precaution against 
poison, he cried: "What! an antidote against Caesar?" After 
banishing his sisters, he made the threat that he not only 
had islands, but swords as well. An ex-praetor who had re- 
tired to Anticyra for his health, sent frequent requests for an 
extension of his leave. But Caligula ordered him put to 
death, adding that a man who had not been helped by so 
long a course of hellebore 1 needed to be bled. On signing the 
list of prisoners who were to be put to death every ten days, 
he said that he was clearing his accounts. Having condemned 
several Gauls and Greeks to death in a body, he boasted that 
he had subdued Gallograecia. 

He seldom had any one put to death except by numerous 
slight wounds. "Strike so that he may feel he is dying," was 
his constant order, and soon became well known. When a 
different man than he had intended had been killed, through 
a mistake in the names, he said that the victim too had de- 
served the same fate. He often uttered the familiar line of 
the tragic poet 2 : 

"Let them hate me, so they but fear me." 

He often inveighed against all the Senators alike, as adherents 
of Sejanus and informers against his mother and brothers, 
producing the documents which he pretended to have burned, 
and upholding the cruelty of Tiberius as forced upon him, 
since he could not but believe so many accusers. He con- 
stantly railed at the equestrian order as devotees of the 
stage and arena. Angered at the rabble for applauding a 
faction which he opposed, he cried: "I wish the Roman people 
had but a single neck." When Tetrinius, the highwayman, 

1 Used in antiquity in treating madness, gout, and epilepsy. Anticyra, 
the refuge mentioned, was in Greece, and was celebrated for its growth 
of this herb. 

2 From Atreus, a tragedy by Accius (cir. 125 B.C.). Only fragment! 
of his work remain. 


was demanded, 1 he said all those who cried for him were 
T^triniuses also. Once a band of five retiarii* in tunics, 
matched against the same number of secutores? yielded with- 
out a struggle. But when their death was ordered, one of them 
caught up his trident and slew all the victors. Caligula be- 
wailed this in a public proclamation as a most cruel murder, 
and expressed his horror of those who had had the heart 
to witness it. 

He even used openly to deplore the state of his times, be- 
cause they had been marked by no public disasters, saying 
that the rule of Augustus had been made famous by the 
Varus massacre, and that of Tiberius by the collapse of the 
amphitheater at Fidenae, while his own was threatened with 
oblivion because of its prosperity. And every now and then 
he wished for some slaughter of his armies, for famine, 
pestilence, fires, or a great earthquake. 

His acts and words were equally cruel, even when he was 
indulging in relaxation and given up to amusement ana feast- 
ing. While he was lunching or reveling capital examinations 
by torture were often made in his presence, and a soldier 
who was an adept at decapitation cut off the heads of those 
who were brought from prison. At Puteoli, at the dedication 
of the bridge that he contrived, as has been said, after invit- 
ing a number to come to him from the shore, on a sudden he 
had them all thrown overboard; and when some caught hold 
of the rudders of the ships, he pushed them off into the sea 
with boathooks and oars. At a public banquet in Rome he 
immediately handed a slave over to the executioners for 
stealing a strip of silver from the couches, with orders that 
his hands be cut off and hung from his neck upon his breast, 
and that he then be led about among the guests, preceded by 
a placard giving the reason for his punishment. When a 
gladiator who was practicing with him with wooden swords 
and fell on purpose, he stabbed him with a real dagger and 
then ran about with a palm-branch, as victors do. Once when 

1 Either for punishment or to fight in the arena. 

2 Gladiators who wore no armor and fought with only a lance and a 

* Gladiators who wore helmet and shield and fought with sword or 
leaden ball. 


he stood by the altar dressed as a popa, 1 and a victim W2 
brought up, he raised his mallet on high and slew the cut- 
tratius. 1 At one of his more sumptuous banquets he suddenly 
burst into a fit of laughter, and when the Consuls, who were 
reclining next him, politely inquired at what he was laugh- 
ing, he replied: "What do you suppose, except that at a single 
nod of mine both of you could have your throats cut on the 

As a sample of his humor, he took his place beside a statue 
of Jupiter, and asked the tragic actor Apelles which of the 
two seemed to him the greater, and when he hesitated, 
Caligula had him flayed with whips, extolling his voice from 
time to time, when the wretch begged for mercy, as passing 
sweet even in his groans. Whenever he kissed the neck of his 
wife or sweetheart, he would say: "Off comes this beautiful 
head whenever I give the word." He even used to threaten 
now and then that he would resort to torture if necessary, to 
find out from his dear Caesonia why he loved her so pas- 

He assailed mankind of almost every epoch with no less 
envy and malice than insolence and cruelty. He threw down 
the statues of famous men, which for lack of room Augustus 
had moved from the court of the Capitol to the Campus 
Marius, and so utterly demolished them that they could not 
be set up again with their inscriptions entire. He then for- 
bade for all time the erection of the statue of any living 
man anywhere, without hi knowledge and consent. He even 
thought of destroying tLc ^oems of Homer, asking why he 
should not have the same privilege as Plato, who excluded 
Homer from his ideal commonwealth. More than that, he 
all but removed the writings and the busts of Vergil and of 
Titus Livius from all the libraries, railing at the former as 
a man of no talent and very little learning, and the latter as 
a verbose and careless historian. With regard to lawyers too, 
as if intending to do away with any practice of their pro- 
fession, he often threatened that he would see to it, by Heaven^ 
that they could give no advice contrary to his wish. 

1 The function of the Popa was to stun the animal with a sledge-blow; 
that of the cultrarius to cut the victim's throat. 


, He took from all the noblest of the city the ancient devices 
of their families, from Torquatus his collar, 1 from Cincin- 
natus his lock of hair, from Gnaeus Pompeius the surname 
Great belonging to his ancient race. After inviting Ptolemy, 
whom I have mentioned before, to come from his kingdom 
he received him with honor, then suddenly had him executed 
for no other reason than that when giving a gladiatorial 
show, he noticed that Ptolemy on entering the theater at- 
tracted general attention by the splendor of his purple cloak. 
Whenever he ran across handsome men with fine heads of 
hair, he disfigured them by having the backs of their heads 
shaved. 2 There was a certain Aesius Proculus, son of a Chief 
Centurion, called Colosseros because of his remarkable size 
and handsome appearance. This man Caligula ordered to be 
suddenly dragged from his seat in the amphitheater and led 
into the arena, where he matched him first against a Thracian 
and then against a heavy-armed gladiator. When Proculus 
was victor in both contests, Caligula gave orders that he be 
bound at once, clad in rags, and then put to death, after 
first being led about the streets and exhibited to the women. 
In short, there was no one of such low condition or such 
abject fortune that he did not envy him such advantages 
as he possessed. Since the King of Nemi 3 had now held his 
priesthood for many years, he hired a stronger adversary to 
attack him. When one Porius, a gladiator who fought from 
a light chariot, was vigorously applauded on the day of one 
of the games for setting his slave free after a victory, Caligula 
rushed from the amphitheater in such haste that he trod on 
the fringe of his toga and went headlong down the steps, 
fuming and shouting that a people who are masters of the 
world give more honor to a gladiator for a trifling act than 
to their deified Emperors or to the one still present with 
He respected neither his own chastity nor that of any one 

1 This collar of gold, taken from the neck of a gigantic Gaul killed 
in single combat by Titus Manlius, afterwards called Torquatus, was 
worn by his lineal male descendants. The family had become extinct but 
had been revived by Augustus in C. Nonius Asprenas. 

2 Because he himself was bald. 

8 The priest of Diana at Nemi, who must be a fugitive slave and 
obtain his office by slaying his predecessor. 


else. He is said to have had unnatural relations with Marcus 
Lepidus, with Mnester, an actor in pantomimes, and with 
certain hostages. Valerius Catullus, a young man of a con- 
sular family, publicly proclaimed that he had violated the 
Emperor and worn himself out in commerce with him. To 
say nothing of his incest with his sisters and his notorious 
passion for Pyrallis, the prostitute, there was scarcely any 
woman of rank whom he did not approach. These as a rule 
he invited to dinner with their husbands, and as they passed 
by the foot of his couch, he would inspect them critically and 
deliberately, as if buying slaves, even putting out his hand 
and lifting up the face of any one who looked down in mod- 
esty. Then, as often as the fancy took him, he would leave 
the room and send for the one who pleased him best. Return- 
ing soon afterward with evident signs of what had occurred, 
he would openly commend or criticize his partner, recounting 
her charms or defects and commenting on her conduct. To 
some he personally sent a bill of divorce in the name of their 
absent husbands, and had it entered in the public records. 

In reckless extravagance he outdid the prodigals of all 
times in ingenuity, inventing a new sort of baths and un- 
natural varieties of food and feasts. He would bathe in hot 
or cold perfumed oils, drink pearls of great price dissolved 
in vinegar, and set before his guests loaves and meats of 
gold, declaring that a man ought either to be frugal or Caesar. 
He even scattered large sums of money among the Commons 
from the top of the Julian Basilica for several days in suc- 
cession. He also built Liburnian galleys * with ten banks of 
oars, with sterns set with gems, particolored sails, huge spa- 
cious baths, colonnades, and banquet-halls, and even a great 
variety of vines and fruit trees. In these he would feast even 
in the daytime amongst singers and dancers as he coasted 
along the shores of "Campania. He built villas and country 
houses with utter disregard of expense, caring for nothing 
so much as to do what men said was impossible. So he built 
moles out into the deep and stormy sea, tunneled rocks of 
hardest flint, built up plains to the height of mountains and 
razed mountains to the level of the plain, all with incredible 

1 Such galleys, famous for their speed, commonly had but one or two 
banks of oars. 


dispatch, since the penalty for delay was death. To make a 
long story short, vast sums of money, including the 2,700,- 
000,000 sesterces * which Tiberius Caesar had amassed, were 
squandered by him in less than the revolution of a year. 

Having thus impoverished himself, from very need he 
turned his attention to pillage through a complicated and 
cunningly devised system of false accusations, auction sales, 
and imposts. He ruled that Roman citizenship could not 
lawfully be enjoyed by those whose forefathers had obtained 
it for themselves and their descendants, except in the case 
of sons, since "descendants" ought not to be understood as 
going beyond that degree. When grants of the deified Julius 
and Augustus were presented to him, he waved them aside 
as old and out of date. Ho also charged all those with making 
false returns, who, by any means whatsoever, had increased 
their property since the last census. 2 If any Chief Centurions 
since the beginning of Tiberius' reign had not named that Em- 
peror or himself among their heirs, he set aside their wills on 
the ground of ingratitude. He also declared null and void the 
wills of all others who had said that they intended to make 
Caesar their heir when they died. When in this way he had 
aroused such fear among men that even persons unknown 
to him came to appoint him joint-heir with their friends, and 
in the case of parents with their children, he accused them 
of making game of him by continuing to live after such a 
declaration, and to many of them he sent poisoned cakes. 
He used further to conduct the trial of such cases in person, 
naming in advance the sum which fie proposed to raise at 
each sitting, and not rising until :t was made up. Impatient 
of the slightest delay, he once condemned in a single sen- 
tence more than forty who were accused on different counts, 
boasting to Caesonia, when she woke after a nap, of the 
great amount of business he had done while she was taking 
her siesta. 

Appointing an auction, he put up and sold what was left 
from all the shows, personally soliciting bids and running 
them up so high, that some who were forced to buy articles 
at an enormous price and were thus stripped of their pos- 

1 $110,700,000.00; 

2 As an excuse to confiscate their estates. 


sessions, opened their veins. A well-known incident is that 
of Aponius Saturninus. He fell asleep on one of the benches, 
and as the auctioneer was warned by Gaius not to overlook 
the praetorian gentleman who kept nodding to him, the bid- 
ding was not stopped until thirteen gladiators were knocked 
down to the unconscious sleeper at nine million sesterces. 1 

When he was in Gaul and had sold at immense figures the 
jewels, furniture, slaves, and even the freedmen of his sisters 
who had been condemned to death, finding the business so 
profitable, he sent to the city for all the paraphernalia of the 
old palace, seizing for its transportation even public car- 
riages and animals from the bakeries, so that bread was often 
scarce at Rome and many who had cases in court lost them 
from inability to appear and meet their bail. To get rid of 
this furniture, he resorted to every artifice of fraud and 
imposition. Sometimes he would rail at the bidders for being 
avaricious or not ashamed that they were richer than he. 
At another time he would feign regret for allowing common 
men to acquire the property of princes. Having learned that 
a rich provincial had paid two hundred thousand sesterces 2 
to those who issued the Emperor's invitations to be smug- 
gled in among the guests at one of his dinner-parties, he was 
not in the least displeased that the honor of dining with him 
was rated so high. But when next day the man appeared at 
his auction, he sent a messenger to hand him some trifle or 
other at the price of two hundred thousand sesterces and 
say that he should dine with Caesar on his personal invita- 

He levied new and unheard-of taxes, at first through the 
Publicans and then, because their profit was so great, through 
the Centurions and Tribunes of the praetorian guard, no 
class of commodities or persons being exempt from some 
kind of tax or other. On all eatables sold in any part of the 
city he levied a fixed and definite charge; on lawsuits and 
legal processes begun anywhere, a fortieth part of the sum 
involved, providing a penalty in case any one was found 
guilty of compromising or abandoning a suit; on the daily 
wages of porters, an eighth; on the earnings of prostitutes, 

1 $369,000.00. 

2 $8,20000. 


as much as each received for one embrace; and a clause was 
added to this chapter of the law, providing that those who 
had ever been prostitutes or acted as panders should be 
liable to this public tax, and that even matrimony should not 
be exempt. 

When taxes of this kind had been proclaimed, but not pub- 
lished in writing, inasmuch as many offenses were committed 
through ignorance af the letter of the law, he at last, on the 
urgent demand of the people, had the law posted up, but in a 
very narrow place and in excessively small letters, to prevent 
the making of a copy. To leave no kind of plunder untried, 
he opened a brothel in his palace, setting apart a number 
of rooms and furnishing them to suit the grandeur of the 
place, where matrons and freeborn youths should stand ex- 
posed. Then he sent his pages about the Forums and courts 
to invite young men and old to enjoy themselves, lending 
money on interest to those who came and having clerks 
openly take down their names, as contributors to Caesar's 
revenues. He did not even disdain to make money from 
gaming, and to increase his gains by falsehood and even by 
perjury. Having on one occasion given up his place to the 
player next him and gone into the courtyard, he spied two 
wealthy Roman Knights passing by, ordered them to be 
seized at once and their property confiscated, and came back 
exultant, boasting that he had never played in better luck. 

But when his daughter was born, complaining of his nar- 
row means, and no longer merely of the burdens of a ruler 
but of those of a father as well, he took up contributions for 
the girl's maintenance and dowry. He also made proclamation 
that he would receive New Year's gifts, and on the Kalends 
of January took his place in the entrance to the Palace, to 
clutch the coins which a throng of people of all classes show- 
ered on him by handfuls and pocketfuls. Finally, seized 
with a mania for feeling the touch of money, he would often 
pour out huge piles of goldpieces in some open place, walk 
over them barefooted, and wallow in them for a long time 
with his whole body. 

He had but one experience with military affairs or war, 
and that was not from any set purpose. For, having gone to 


Mevania 1 to visit the river Clitumnus and its grove, he was 
reminded of the necessity of recruiting his bodyguard of 
Batavians and was seized with the idea of an expedition to 
Germany. So without delay he assembled legions and auxili- 
aries from all quarters, holding levies everywhere with the 
utmost strictness, and collecting provisions of every kind 
on an unheard-of scale. Then he began his march and made 
it at times so hurriedly and rapidly, that the praetorian 
cohorts were forced, contrary to all precedent, to lay their 
standards on the pack-animals and thus to follow him, and 
at other times so lazily and daintily that he was carried in a 
litter by eight bearers, requiring the inhabitants of the towns 
through which he passed to sweep the roads for him and 
sprinkle them to lay the dust. 

On reaching his camp, to show his vigilance and strictness 
as a commander, he dismissed in disgrace the generals who 
were late in bringing in the auxiliaries from various places. 
In reviewing his troops he deprived many of the Chief 
Centurions who were well on in years of their rank, in some 
cases only a few days before they would have served then 
time, giving as a reason their age and infirmity. Then, railing 
at the rest for their avarice, he reduced the rewards given 
on completion of full military service to six thousand ses- 
terces. 2 

All that he accomplished was to receive the surrender of 
Adminius, son of Cynobellinus, King of the Britons, who 
had been banished by his father and had deserted to the 
Romans with a small force. Yet as if the entire island had 
submitted to him, he sent a grandiloquent letter to Rome, 
commanding the couriers who carried it to ride in their post- 
chaise all the way to the Forum and the House, and not to 
deliver it to any one except the Consuls, in the temple of 
Mars the Avenger, before a full meeting of the Senate. 

Presently, finding no one to fight with, he had a few Cer* 
mans of his bodyguard taken across the river and concealed 
there, and word brought him after luncheon with great bustle 
and confusion that the enemy were close at hand. Upon this 
he rushed out with his friends and a part of the praetorian 

1 Birthplace of the poet Propertius. 

2 $246.00, half the amount established by Augustus. 


cavalry to the woods close by, and after cutting the branches 
from some trees and adorning them like trophies, he returned 
by torchlight, taunting those who had not followed him as 
timorous and cowardly, and presenting his companions and 
the partners in his victory with crowns of a new kind and of 
A new name, ornamented with figures of the sun, moon and 
stars, and called exploratoriae. Another time some hostages 
were taken from a common school and secretly sent on ahead 
of him, when he suddenly left a banquet and pursued them 
with the cavalry as if they were runaways, caught them, and 
brought them back in fetters, in this farce too showing im- 
moderate extravagance. On coming back to the table, when 
some announced that the army was assembled, he urged them 
to take their places just as they were, in their coats of mail. 
He also admonished them in the familiar line of Vergil to 
"bear up and save themselves for better days." * 

While he was about these things he rebuked the distant 
Senate and people of Rome in a stern edict for indulging 
in revels and frequenting the theaters and their pleasant 
villas when Caesar was fighting battles and exposing himself 
to so many dangers. 

Finally, as if resolved to make war in earnest, he drew 
up a line of battle on the shore of the ocean, placed his 
ballistas 2 and other artillery, and, no one knowing or able 
to imagine what he was going to do, he all of a sudden com- 
manded they gather sea shells and fill their helmets and 
pockets with them, calling them "the spoils of ocean, due 
to the Capitol and the Palatine." As a monument of this vic- 
tory he erected a lofty tower, from which lights were to shine 
at night to guide the course of ships, as from the Pharos. 8 
Then promising the soldiers a gratuity of a hundred denarii 4 
each, as if he had shown precedented liberality, he said, 
"Go your ways and be happy. Go your ways, you are rich." 

Then turning his attention to his triumph, in addition to 
a few captives and deserters from the barbarians he chose 
fill the tallest of the Gauls, and as he expressed it, those who 

1 Aeneid I, 207. 

2 Machines which cast stones. 
8 The lighthouse at Alexandria. 
4 About $15.00. / 


were "worthy of a triumph," as well as some of the chiefs. 
These he reserved for his parade, compelling them not only 
to dye their hair red and to let it grow long, but also to learn 
the language of the Germans and assume barbarian names. 
He also had the triremes in which he had entered the ocean 
carried overland to Rome for the greater part of the way. 
He wrote besides to his financial agents to prepare for a 
triumph at the smallest possible cost, 1 but on a grander 
scale than had ever before been known, since they had full 
power over the property of all men. 

Before leaving the province he formed a design of un- 
speakable cruelty, that of butchering the legions that had 
begun the mutiny years before just after the death of Augus* 
tus, 1 because they had threatened his father Germanicus, 
their leader, and himself, at the time an infant. And though 
he was with difficulty turned from this mad purpose, he could 
by no means be prevented from persisting in his desire to deci- 
mate them. Accordingly he summoned them to an assembly 
unarmed, without even their swords, and surrounded them 
with armed horsemen. But seeing that some of the legionaries, 
suspecting his purpose, were stealing off to resume their 
weapons in case any violence should be offered them, he 
fled from the assembly and set out for the city in a hurry, 
turning all his ferocity upon the Senate, against which he 
uttered open threats, in order to divert the gossip about his 
own dishonor. He complained among other things that he 
had been cheated out of his fairly earned triumph, whereas 
a short time before he had himself given orders that on pain 
of death no action should be taken about his honors. 

Therefore when he was met on the road by envoys from 
that distinguished body, begging him to hasten his return, 
he roared, "I will come, and this will be with me," frequently 
smiting the hilt of the sword which he wore at his side. He 
also made proclamation that he was returning, but only to 
those who desired his presence, the equestrian order and the 
people, for to the Senate he would never more be fellow* 
citizen nor prince. He even forbade any one of the Senators 

1 To himself personally. 


to meet him. Then giving up or postponing his triumph, he 
entered the city on his birthday in an ovation. 

Within four months he perished, having dared great crimes 
and meditating still greater ones. For he had made up his 
mind 'to move to Antium, and later to Alexandria, after first 
slaying the noblest members of the two orders. That no 
one may doubt this, let me say that among his private papers 
two notebooks were found with different titles, one called 
'The Sword" and the other "The Dagger," and both con- 
taining the names and marks of identification of those whom 
he had doomed to death. There was found besides a great 
chest full of divers kinds of poisons, which they say were 
later thrown into the sea by Claudius and so infected it as to 
kill the fish, which were thrown up by the tide upon the 
neighboring shores. 

He was very tall and extremely pale, with a huge body, 
but very thin neck and legs. His eyes and temples were 
hollow, his forehead broad and grim, his hair thin and en- 
tirely gone on the top of his head, though his body was 
hairy. Because of this to look upon him from a higher place 
as he passed by, or for any reason whatever to mention a 
goat, was treated as a capital offense. While his face was 
naturally forbidding and ugly, he purposely made it even 
more savage, practicing all kinds of terrible and fearsome 
expressions before a mirror. 

He was sound neither of body nor mind. As a boy he was 
troubled with the epilepsy, and while in his youth he had 
some endurance, yet at times because of sudden faintness he 
was hardly able to walk, to stand up, to collect his thoughts, 
or to hold up his head. He himself realized his mental in- 
firmity, and thought at times of going into retirement to 
clear his brain. It is thought that his wife Caesonia gave him 
a drug intended for a love potion, which however had the 
effect of driving him mad. He was especially tormented with 
sleeplessness. For he never rested more than three hours at 
night, and even for that length of time he did not sleep 
quietly, but was terrified by strange apparitions, once for 
example dreaming that the spirit of the ocean talked with 
him. Therefore weary of lying in bed wide awake during 
the greater part of the night, he would now sit upon his 


couch, and now wander through the Icutg colonnades, crying 
out from time to time for daylight ar^i longing for its coming. 

I think I may fairly attribute to mental weakness the exist* 
ence of two exactly opposite faults in the same person, ex- 
treme assurance and, on the other hand, excessive timorous- 
ness. For this man, who so utterly despised the Gods, was 
wont at the slightest thunder and lightning to shut his eyes, 
to muffle up his head, and if they increased, to leap from his 
bed and hide under it. In his journey through Sicily, though 
he made all manner of fun of the miracles in various places, 
he suddenly fled from Messana by night, panic-stricken by 
the smoke and roaring from Aetna's crater. Full of threats as 
he was also against the barbarians, when he was riding in a 
chariot through a narrow defile on the far side of the Rhine, 
and some one said that there would be no slight panic if the 
enemy should appear anywhere, he immediately mounted a 
horse and hastily returned to the bridges. Finding them 
crowded with camp servants and baggage, in his impatience of 
any delay he was passed along from hand to hand over the 
men's heads. Soon after, hearing of an uprising in Germany, 
he made preparations to flee from Rome and equipped fleets 
for the purpose, finding comfort only in the thought that 
the provinces across the sea would at any rate be left him, 
in case the enemy should be victorious and take possession 
of the summits of the Alps, as the Cimbri, or even of the 
city, as the Senones had once done. And it was this, I think, 
that later inspired his assassins with the idea of pretending 
to the rioting soldiers that he had laid hands on himself in 
terror at the report of a defeat. 

In his clothing, his shoes, and the rest of his attire he did 
not follow the usage of his country and his fellow-citizens; 
not always even that of his sex; or in fact, that of an ordinary 
mortal. He often appeared in public in embroidered cloaks 
covered with precious stones, with a long-sleeved tunic and 
bracelets; sometimes all in silks 1 and habited like a woman; 
at times in sandals or buskins, at times in the sort of shoes 
worn by light-armed soldiers, and sometimes in the low shoes 
which are used by females. Most often he exhibited himself 

1 Men were forbidden to wear silk. 


with a golden beard, holding in his hand a thunderbolt, a 
trident, or a caduceus, emblems of the Qods. But sometimes 
he even appeared in the garb of Venus. He frequently wore 
the dress of a triumphing general, even before his campaign, 
and sometimes the breastplate of Alexander the Great, which 
he had taken from his sarcophagus. 

As regards liberal studies, he gave little attention to liter- 
ature but a great deal to oratory, and he was as ready of 
speech and eloquent as you please, especially if he had occa- 
sion to make a charge against any one. For when he Was 
angry, he had an abundant flow of words and thoughts, and 
his voice and delivery were such that for very excitement he 
could not stand still and was clearly heard by those at a 
distance. When about to begin an harangue he threatened in 
such terms as "that he was about to draw the sword of his 
lucubrations," holding a polished and elegant style in such 
contempt that he used to say that Seneca, who was very 
popular just then, composed "mere school exercises," and 
that he was "sand without lime." He had the habit too of 
writing replies to the successful pleas of orators and compos- 
ing accusations or vindications of important personages who 
were brought to trial before the Senate. And according as 
his pen had been more fluent in accusing or in defending he 
brought ruin or relief by his speech, while he would also 
invite the equestrian order by proclamation to come in and 
hear him. 

Moreover he devoted himself with much enthusiasm to arts 
of other kinds and of great variety, appearing as a Thracian 
gladiator, as a charioteer, and even as a singer and dancer, 
fighting with the weapons of actual warfare, and driving in 
circuses built in various places. He was so carried away by 
his interest in singing and dancing that even at the public 
performances he could not refrain from singing with the 
tragic actor as he delivered his lines, or from openly imitating 
his gestures by way of praise or correction. Indeed, on the 
day when he was slain he seems to have ordered ah all-night 
vigil for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the license 
granted by the time of year to make his first appearance on 
the stage. Sometimes he danced even at night, and once he 
summoned three Consulars to the Palace at the dose of the 


second watch, 1 and when they arrived in great and deathly 
fear, he seated them on a stage and then on a sudden burst 
out with a great din of flutes and clogs, 2 dressed in a cloak 
and a tunic reaching to his heels, and after dancing a number 
went off again. And yet, varied as were his accomplishments^ 
the man could not swim. 

Toward those to whom he was devoted his partiality be- 
came madness. He used to kiss Mnester, the actor of panto- 
mimes, even in the theater, and if any one made even the 
slightest sound while his favorite was dancing, he had him 
dragged from his seat and scourged him with his own hand, 
When a Roman Knight created a disturbance, he sent a 
Centurion to bid him go without delay to Ostia and carry 
to King Ptolemy in Mauretania a message the purport of 
which was: "Do neither good nor ill to the man whom I have 
sent you." He gave some Thracian gladiators command of 
his German bodyguard. He reduced the amount of armor of 
the murmttlones* When one Columbus had won a victory, 
but had suffered a slight wound, he had the place rubbed with 
a poison which he henceforth called "Columbinum." At 
least it was found mentioned under that name in his list of 
poisons. He was so passionately devoted to the green faction 4 
that he constantly dined and spent the night in their stable, 
and in one of his revels with them he gave the driver Eutychus 
two million sesterces in gifts. 5 On the day before the games 
he used to send his soldiers to enjoin silence in the neighbor- 
hood, that the repose of his favorite horse Incitatus* might 
not be disturbed. Besides a stall of marble, a manger of 
ivory, purple blankets and a collar of precious stones, he 
even gave this horse a house, with a retinue of slaves and 
fine furniture, for the more elegant entertainment of the 

1 About midnight, since the night was divided into four watches. 

* The scabcllum was attached to the feet of dancers and sounded an 
Accompaniment lo their movements. 

8 He disliked the gladiators known as murmillones because they were 
the usual opponents of his favorites, the Thracians. 

*The charioteers in the Circus were divided into four parties, dis- 
tinguished by their colors, which were red, white, blue, and green. 

6 32,000.00; The host at a dinner party often gave guests gifts. 

'-J :yer," "Go-ahead." 


guests invited in the horse's name. It is also said that he 
intended to make him Consul. 

During this frantic and riotous career several thought of 
attempting his life. But when one or two conspiracies had 
been detected and the rest were waiting for a favorable op- 
portunity, two men made common cause and accomplished 
their purpose, with the connivance of his most influential 
freedmen and the officers of the praetorian guard. For these 
last, having been named, though falsely, as concerned in one 
of the former conspiracies against him, realized that Caligula 
hated and feared them. In fact, he exposed them to great 
odium by at once taking them aside and declaring, drawn 
sword in hand, that he would kill himself, if they too tnought 
he deserved death. And from that time on he never ceased 
accusing them one to the other and setting them aH at odds. 

When they had decided to attempt his life at the exhibition 
of the Palatine games, as he went out at noon, Cassius 
Chaerea, Tribune of a cohort of the praetorian guard, claimed 
for himself the part of striking the first blow. For this man, 
already well along in years, Gaius had the habit of taunting 
In most scurrilous manner with wantonness and effeminacy. 
When he asked for the watchword Gaius would give him 
"Priapus" or "Venus," and when Chaerea had occasion to 
thank him for anything, he would hold out his hand to kiss, 
forming and moving it in an obscene fashion. 

His approaching murder was foretold by many prodigies. 
The statue of Jupiter at Olympia, which he had ordered to 
be taken to pieces and moved to Rome, suddenly uttered such 
a peal of laughter that the scaffoldings collapsed and the 
workmen took to their heels. Immediately following this a 
man named Cassius came up who declared that he had been 
bidden in a dream to sacrifice a bull to Jupiter. The Capitol 
at Capua was struck by lightning on the Ides of March, and 
also the room of the doorkeeper of the Palace at Rome. Som# 
inferred from the latter omen that danger was threatened to 
the owner at the hands of his guards; and from the former, 
the murder of a second distinguished personage, such as had 
taken place long before on that same day. 1 The soothsayer 

1 Referring, of course, to the murder of Julius Caesar. 


Sulla too, when Gaius consulted him about his horoscope, 
declared that inevitable death was close at hand. The lots of 
Fortune at Antium warned him to beware of Cassius, and 
he accordingly ordered the death of Cassius Longinus, who 
was at the time proconsul of Asia, forgetting that the family 
name of Chaerea was Cassius. The day before he was killed 
he dreamt that he stood in heaven beside the throne of 
Jupiter and that the God struck him with the toe of his 
right foot and hurled him to earth. Some things which had 
happened on that very day shortly before he was killed were 
also regarded as- portents. As he was sacrificing, he was 
sprinkled with the blood of a flamingo, and the pantomimic 
actor Mnester danced a tragedy 1 which the tragedian 
Neoptolemus had acted years before during the games at 
which Philip King of the Macedonians was assassinated. In a 
farce called "Laureolus," in which the chief actor falls as he 
is making his escape and vomits blood, several understudies 2 
so vied with one another in giving evidence of their proficiency 
that the stage swam in blood. A nocturnal performance be- 
sides was rehearsing, in which scenes from the lower world 
were represented by Egyptians and Aethiopians. 

On the ninth day before the Kalends of February at about 
the seventh hour he hesitated whether or not to get up for 
luncheon, since his stomach was still disordered from excess 
of food on the day before, but at length he came out at the 
persuasion of his friends. In the covered passage through 
which he had to pass, some boys of good birth, who had been 
summoned from Asia to appear on the stage, were rehearsing 
their parts, and he stopped to watch and encourage them* 
Had not the leader of the troop complained that he had a 
chill, he would have returned and had the performance given 
at once. From this point there are two versions of the story: 
Some say that as he was talking with the boys, Chaerea 
came up behind and gave him a deep cut in the neck, having 
first cried, "Do your duty," 8 and that then the Tribune 

1 Called Cinyras, the story of which is told by Ovid in Metamor- 
phoses X. 

8 Understudies in Rome entertained the spectators after a play by 
imitating the actions of the star. 

8 Formula of the ritual at a sacrifice. The slayer raised his ax with 
the question, "Shall I not do it?" To which the priest replied, "Do it." 


Cornelius Sabinus, who was the other conspirator and faced 
Gaius, stabbed him in the breast. Others say that Sabinus, 
after getting rid of the crowd through Centurions who were 
in the plot, asked for the watchword, as soldiers do, and that 
when Gaius gave him "J u Pite r >" he cried "So be it," 1 and as 
Gaius looked around, he split his jawbone with a blow of 
his sword. As he lay upon the ground and with writhing 
limbs called out that he still lived the others dispatched him 
with thirty wounds, for the general signal was "Strike again." 
Some even thrust their swords through his privates. At the 
beginning of the disturbance his litter bearers ran to his aid 
with their poles, and presently the Germans of his bodyguard, 
and they slew several of his assassins, as well as some in- 
offensive Senators. 

He lived twenty-nine years and ruled three years, ten 
months and eight days. His body was conveyed secretly to 
the gardens of the Lamian family, where it was partly con- 
sumed on a hastily erected pyre and buried beneath a light 
covering of turf. Later his sisters on their return from exile 
dug it up, cremated it, and consigned it to the tomb. Before 
this was done, it is well known that the caretakers of the 
gardens were disturbed by ghosts, and that in the house 
where he was slain not a night passed without some fearsome 
apparition, until at last the house itself was destroyed by fire, 
With him died his wife Caesonia, stabbed with a sword by 
a Centurion, while his daughter's brains were dashed out 
against a wall. 

One may form an idea of the state of those times by what 
followed. Not even after the murder was made known was 
't at once believed that he was dead, but it was suspected that 
Gaius himself had made up and circulated the report, to find 
out by that means how men felt towards him. The con- 
spirators too had not agreed on a successor, and the Senate 
was so unanimously in favor of reestablishing the republic 
that the Consuls called the first meeting, not in the Senate 
House, because it was named after Julius Caesar, but in the 

1 Another formula, which may also be translated "Take the fulfill- 
ment of your omen." As though Caligula having named Jupitet, God of 
the thunderbolt and instant death, should take indeed what that God 


Capitol. Some in expressing their views proposed that the 
memory of the Caesars be done away with and their temples 
destroyed. Men further observed and commented on the fact 
that all the Caesars whose forename was Gaius perished by 
the sword, beginning with the one who was slain in the times 
of China. 1 

1 This was Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo, slain in 87 B.C. But the Dic- 
tator's father died a natural death, as did also Gaius Caesar, grandson 
of Augustus. 



THE father of Claudius Caesar, Drusus, who at first had 
the forename Decimus and later that of Nero, was born of 
Livia within three months after her marriage to Augustus 
(for she was with child at the time) and there was a suspicion 
that he was begotten by his stepfather in adulterous inter- 
course. Certain it is that this verse at once became current: 

"On certain persons fortune's smiles attend 
That they may children have at three months' end." 

This Drusus, while holding the offices of Quaestor and 
Praetor, was in charge of the war in Raetia and later of that in 
Germany. He was the first Roman general to sail the northern 
ocean, and beyond the Rhine with prodigious labor he con- 
structed the huge canals which to this very day are called 
by his name. Even after he had defeated the enemy in many 
battles and driven them far into the wilds of the interior, he 
did not cease his pursuit until the apparition of a barbarian 
woman of more than human size, speaking in the Latin 
tongue, forbade him to push his victory further. For these 
exploits he received the honor of an ovation with the trium- 
phal regalia. After his praetorship he immediately became 
Consul and resumed his campaign, but died in his summer 
camp, which for that reason was given the name of "Ac- 
cursed." The body was carried by the leading men of the 
free towns and colonies to Rome, where it was met and re- 
ceived by the Decuries of the Scribes, and buried in the 
Campus Martius. But the army reared a monument in his 
honor, about which the soldiers on a stated day each year 
thereafter were to perform certain ceremonies 1 while the 

1 A decursus. The one about the funeral pyre of Augustus is described 
Dy Dio, LVI, 42. After running around it in full armor, the soldiers 
cast into the fire the military prizes which they had received from the 



cities of Gaul were to offer prayers and sacrifices. The Senate, 
in adition to many other honors, voted him a marble arch 
adorned with trophies on the Appian Way, and the surname 
Germanicus for himself and his descendants. It is the general 
belief that he^was as eager for glory as he was democratic by 
nature. For ii^Ul^^4iA^l^^MitT^"^my he greatly 
desired to wiri the "noble trophies" 1 often pursuing the 
f ' < tolffiial 


*ifito3* r 6f 'WWttft tiife 

: - 


fct'bht* fodfc hifc 
tijOnsd, ratbe,^ not ; tQ pas^t by, 
. eyeri ^^*lft.^pKM^^ tter 
of fact, Augustus loved fiiin so aearly while he livea that he 

off by poison. 


both lus jnind and his body was dulled, and even <whi 

ulakiito: '-*"*-' 

j soli 

Gaius and Lucius, his grandsons through his daughter 


th6 proper age he wafe not thought capable of ,ariy- 
or. private business. For a long time,; even after he/ 
BBadledlhe^gc of indepenfleiide, he. was subjfeGtlk) tbe<supcarH 
TOiofutif rothers and tinder .th&direethm of a leache^of^honr 
be famtelf foMii3tain$^ that he was.a- 

barbatiari aBdai tomer chief of muleteerfi^put in charge ^f, 
him f for 'the'lefc^essr purpose of punishing fairfi with /aft .pos* 
? trifling obckstouvvlt^was Blso/Jpecause 
tealttofrtijat ccmtrairyjtb All precedent hfevwore^ 
he: presided "at the gladiatorial games which te 
his : hrttt her gave in hoaor of their :father; On ftbe day 
When fie-, afefeuitted tffce ; gowil of manhood he was taketi: in 
a; litter tq the. Capitol about midniglit withobt the usual 
ceremony^ :> - , > r -"- . !->*'> M .r . ? -/" ; * / , */, r j 

Yet hergave no slight atfeation ,to liberal /sblcKesi findni .hi 
earliest youth; and even published frequent ^specimem of his^ 
attamments in each line. But even so he could not attain any) 
putrlk positiori or inspipe more favorable hopes of his future; 

/ His mother Antonia dften spoke of him as a monster of a 
man^jndt'fiHishedbiit inei i ely)begun by DameNatuc^ and il 
she^aocused any one -of drflnessj she ^ouldf say that ihe was a 
bigger fobl than hei- son Claudius; fHis grandmother August^ 
always treated him with the utmost contempt, very rarely 
spoke 'to him, and when she admonished hini it was in writ^ 
ing r 'bdeflyrbut severely, or though messengers! Wten his 
sister Livilla heard that ;he would .oner day te Emperor, ^ie 
opewly and Jo'icHy prayed )tha^ ;the Rtraan people might 'be 
^>ared so cruel and undeserved a fortune; Einallyloiiidfce.ifc 
clfeamr;wiaa^ ojiumons/ favmable and other^ite,- iris greaf 
iipcle -Augustus had of him, I hive appeiaded extracts^ f ram 
hi&x>wn tetters:' r- ^ Y '^ -- 1 : * ? ^" *;<'>'; -''^ ' - i 

-^I' have'tatked with Tiberius y J nay*deai? liivia,^s ybu;i^ 
qtiested; with reg^iii to what is to be done wiUi' ; yoiar f gnintt 
son Tiberius 2 at the gaihes-bf Mars. JNb# sw^re)both agreed 
that/ we mfast decide 'once f <Jr - all whfct pto ?we rarest adopt 
inrhis case. F6r r if <foe be souad' wid, t 

. . , , , 

> That is, if he have his five semes. August*^ & tBte fetteirris'iil^ 
tx>: Wtorwiniv ompi6y3;a jwauber/ of Ortbk mordj, wkj^msw ;; 1 1 


what reason have we for doubting that he ought to be ad- 
vanced through the same grades and steps through which 
his brother has been advanced? But if we realize that he is 
wanting and defective in soundness of body and mind, we 
must not furnish the means of ridiculing both him and us to 
a public which is wont to scoff at and deride such things. 
Surely we shall always be in a stew, if we deliberate about 
each separate occasion and do not make up our minds iii ad- 
vance whether we think he can hold public ofihcs or not. 
However, as to the matters about which you ask my present 
advice, I do not object to his having charge of the banquet 
of the priests at the games of Mars, if he will allow himself 
to be advised by his kinsman the son of Silvanus, so as not 
to do anything to make himself conspicuous or ridiculous. 
That he should view the games in the Circus from the Im- 
perial box does not meet with my approval, for he will be 
conspicuous if exposed to full view in the front of the audi- 
torium. I am opposed to his going to the Alban Mount or 
being in Rome on the days of the Latin festival. For, why 
should he not be made Prefect of the city if he is able to at- 
tend his brother to the Mount? You have my views, my dear 
Livia, to wit that I desire that something be decided once for 
all about the whole matter, to save us from constantly wav- 
ering between hope and fear. Moreover, you may, if you 
wish, give this part of my letter to our kinswoman Antonia 
also to read." Again in another letter: 

"I certainly shall invite the young Tiberius to dinner every 
day during your absence, to keep him from dining alone with 
his friends Sulpicius and Athenodorus. I do wish that he 
would choose more carefully and in a less scatter-brained 
fashion some one to imitate in his movements, bearing, and 
gait. The poor fellow is unlucky. For in important matters, 
where his mind does not wander, the nobility of his character 
is apparent enough." Also in a third letter: 

"Confound me, dear Livia, if I am not surprised that your 
grandson Tiberius could please me with his declaiming. 
How in the world any one who is so lacking in clarity in his 
conversation can speak with clarity and propriety when he 
declaims, is more than I can see." 

There is no doubt at all what Augustus later decided, and 


that he left him invested with no office other than the sacer- 
dotal dignity of Augur, not even naming him as one of his 
heirs, save in the third degree x and to a sixth part of his 
estate, among those who were all but strangers. While the 
legacy that he left him was not more than eight hundred 
thousand sesterces. 2 

His paternal uncle Tiberius gave him the consular regalia, 
when he asked for office. But when he urgently requested the 
actual position, Tiberius merely replied by a note in these 
words: "I have sent you forty gold-pieces for the Saturnalia 
and the Sigillaria." 8 Then at last Claudius abandoned all 
hope of advancement and gave himself up to idleness, living 
in obscurity now in his house and gardens in the suburbs, 
and sometimes at a villa in Campania. Moreover from his 
intimacy with the lowest of men he incurred the reproach of 
drunkenness and gambling, in addition to his former reputa- 
tion for dullness. Yet all this time, despite his conduct, he 
never lacked attention from individuals or respect from the 

The equestrian order twice chose him as their patron, to 
head a deputation on their behalf: once when they asked 
from the Consuls the privilege of carrying the body of Augus- 
tus to Rome on their shoulders, and again when they offered 
them their congratulations on the downfall of Sejanus. They 
even used to rise and put off their cloaks when he appeared 
at the public shows. The Senate too voted that he be made 
a special member of the Priests of Augustus, 4 who were 
usually chosen by lot, and later, when he lost his house by 
fire, that it should be rebuilt at the public expense, and that 
he should have the honor of giving his opinion among the 
Consulars. This second decree was however repealed, since 
Tiberius urged Claudius's infirmity as a reason, and promised 
that he would make the loss good through his own generosity. 

1 And such had little or no prospect of receiving their inheritance. 

2 $32,800.00. 

8 December 21 and 22, an extension of the joyous Saturnalia. It was- 
customary on these days to make presents of little images of various 
sorts called sigilla. 

* The order founded by Tiberius for the worship of the Deified Au- 

iti THE 

Yet^whtrt Tiberius died- he -natticd Claudius ^ o 
bdrfr in the third degree, to & third part of liis estate ^Ith^ugk 
b gave^hlm ift addition a legacy of about two rtiHlion ses- 
t^ce^, 1 arid expressly ^mtaended' him besides to the armies 
find to tha Senate and people of Rdme with the f est of ' hii 
kinsfolk. '.-.' - '-^ " "<* 

.i'lfcjfeft?4ftly' u^tf'hi* ttrth*ifctiQ& Dates' (Migula, Who 
to! the eafly part 'Of hfe feign tne4>td gaik popularity- bj^ M6ry 
device;, that he at >ldst -began- his official career ^holding the 
totisulship as ; his coikague for two itwiiths. And it chanced 
that as he entered the Foram for the ikst time with the fasces ? 
an 'e^lMfeatlwM flyidg'b lit'up<mlhi& ^boulder. -He f 

fcerveral times he ptesided at; the' shows in place of aHgula ; 
s 'greeted %j? the -people ttow^th 4< Sutj^s-to the' Eifi- 
ttttdelt" ; and^ fldW -withf ^All-hail t6 'th^ toother 'df 

if he came to dinner a little after the appointed time, he-tetik 
his place *vith difficulty , and ortly after making the wund of 
the dining-room/ Whenever he went to feleep after diimet- 
r \tas ,a Hafcit of bisj he was pelted with the ^ton^^f 
and dates, and s<imetifeifefe^'W^ awakened' 'toy the 

also to put slippers on his hahSs as j h^ lay sttotmg, 
^ wks stofieftty atou^d t lte'tiight' i rub ' 


!< B%it he t^as exposed Alfio ^W actual dangers, First,- lit hifc 
own co^e^ulship>,'when, having ^been too remisfe m contracting 
46* aaadferecftingithe-stitaies of the.EmpePdt y 3)brdtliersy/Nen4 
and J)tra&uff e he: was very, near , bekig ^deprived of , JIB! ;offio& 
, be. /.was , continually ilmrasscdib^ all kinds, of ad- 

-by M> 

own domestics. Finally, when the conspiracy of Lepidus and 
GaetialifcuS wL5HieM^teda^iie w^-seiit'to Gertntoy ; asr one 
of thp envoys to congratulate the Emperor, he v 

dre^ lots 
for the year they should serve. .*)** 


:e^ad,6pw 5 Ij^eo^^^ t^t tin^S^M 
i^t^ r <^ 

ened circumstances4bat he 
he tr 

the Hermaeum. A little later, in great terror at ;thf t o 

th^r<5, a cQE^mcm! sofc^e^ iwhpr^a? prpw^ng 

his, feet,-,a^4" iat^ndi^g'ia [asjk ,who 'he^ 
^^ recognised Jnra<, T^Ji^n Claudius) 

.haMj him j^s, Emperor? nf^h 
.^cQBirg^ whp ^re^Sf^et.rf 
tion 0f~tyn$$Ftainty^nfl |>UFp(?seless rage. "These placed : bim, 
'turns ip ' 



hppraiof the stKoessk^ ^nd- 

ttojcit^ ioliortis^T^aolvBdtoii toaaMmri^iher;t>iibfi(fc liberty 
had taken possession of the Forum and the CapitofcrWfacir 

1 $328,000.00. 


he too was summoned to the House by the Tribunes of the 
Commons, to give his advice on the situation, he sent word 
that "he was detained by force and compulsion." But the 
next day, since the Senate was dilatory in putting through 
its plans because of the tiresome bickering of those who held 
divergent views, while the populace, who stood about the 
hall, called for one ruler and expressly named Claudius, he 
allowed the alarmed assembly of the soldiers to swear alle- 
giance to him, and promised each man fifteen thousand ses- 
terces. 1 Thus was he the first of the Caesars who resorted to 
bribery to secure the fidelity of the troops. 

As soon as his power was firmly established, he considered 
it of foremost importance to obliterate the memory of the 
two days when men had thought of changing the form of 
government. Accordingly he made a decree that all that had 
been done and said during that period should be pardoned 
and forever forgotten. He kept his word, too, save only that 
a few of the Tribunes and Centurions who had conspired 
against Caligula were put to death, both to make an example 
of them and because he knew that they had also demanded 
his own death. 

Then turning to the duties of family loyalty, he adopted 
as his most sacred and frequent oath "By Augustus." He 
had the Senate vote divine honors to his grandmother Livia, 
with a chariot to be drawn by elephants 2 in the procession 
at the Circus, as had been appointed for Augustus, and pub- 
lic offerings to the shades of his parents; also annual games 
in the Circus on his father's birthday, and for his mother a 
carriage to bear her image through the Circus and the 
surname of Augusta, which she had declined during her life- 
time. In memory of his brother, 8 whom he took every op- 
portunity of honoring, he brought out a Greek comedy in 
the contest at Naples and awarded it the crown in accordance 
with the decision of the judges. He did not leave even Mark 
Antony unhonored or without grateful mention, declaring 
once in a proclamation that he requested the more earnestly 
that the birthday of his father Drusus be celebrated because 

1 $615.00. 

2 For carrying her image. 
* Gcrmanicus. 


it was the same as that of his grandfather Antony. He com- 
pleted the marble arch to Tiberius near Pompey's theater, 
which had been voted some time before by the Senate, but 
left unfinished. Even in the case of Caligula, while he an- 
nulled all his acts, yet he would not allow the day of his 
death to be added to the festivals, although it was also the 
beginning of his own reign. 

But in adding to his own dignity he was modest and unas- 
suming, refraining from taking the forename Imperator, re- 
fusing excessive honors, and passing over the betrothal of 
his daughter and the birthday of a grandson in silence and 
with merely private ceremonies. He recalled no one from 
exile except with the approval of the Senate. He obtained 
from the members as a favor the privilege of bringirffe into 
the House with him the Prefect of the praetorian -guard and 
the Tribunes of the Soldiers, and the ratification of the ju- 
dicial acts of his agents in the provinces. He likewise ob- 
tained from the Consuls permission to hold fairs on his 
private estates. He often appeared as one of the advisers at 
cases tried before the magistrates. And when they gave 
games, he also arose with the rest of the audience and showed 
his respect by acclamations and applause. When the Tribunes 
of the Commons appeared before him as he sat upon the 
tribunal, he apologized to them because for lack of room he 
could not hear them unless they stood up. 

By such conduct he won so much love and devotion in a 
short time, that when it was reported that he had been way- 
laid and killed on a journey to Ostia the people were horror- 
stricken, and witli dreadful execrations continued to assail 
the soldiers as traitors, and the Senate as murderers, until 
finally one or two men, and later several, were brought for- 
ward upon the rostra by the magistrates and assured the 
people that Claudius was safe and on his way to the city. 

Yet he did not remain throughout without experience of 
treachery, but he was attacked by individuals, by a con- 
spiracy, and finally by a civil war. A man of the Commons 
was caught near his bed-chamber in the middle of the night, 
dagger in hand. And two members of the equestrian order 
were found lying in wait for him in public places, one ready 
to attack him with a sword-cane as he came out of the theater, 


in .the 

put down within five days, 



ferst tW^^^Utt'fiifc^grfveiybais^ wiilenthfe 
M^ed'at iiit^Mai^f Ifoiif rydrs leach, ,thd lafet 
fft si!^ rt^ilt^/tte^the^ for^tw<v. IW'his'tMrd>he wife siibsfi- 
dl the- 0d>rtsttte who* ha& died, & 


iri t*>e case o^ akn Em^erdi. 

those efc&is 
of -anoint 


who lost their 

lb <be'heir du* hcf ^lloiwed) atnew^trial, 
the) puni^itaefiiti apt>ointed 



sjrtf cwd, 

2 IWtattie W theatttHWr 
I^MtfUii fi!"fUf- 

/**;. v/i b&A&iju. TTJ.IV rc*j yulcnlCttgCU Tnr''fH9F^9p" 

on) lo fc'ndmoffi owj nriA .bnfirf ni 

[&>biowa a rfjiw mid ^DUJJB < 

tf A a 51 /THE ^DIElIFrEDHCL 'AWB BETS J ail T lift 

pdnents^bbul aSsuil of (Ms owm, fed4ddhatutldid;ra>t ^oped>* 
come- ;bef ore Gae$ar?s- tribunal J' bait the- 'C^dkiaty:^ courts^ 
wiiei^p|(ml<3JfHi*^ the 'ease 

b^w;l^j$aylBgrtto easel afiect* 

ing his lOT^n'iiltJere^tB how; gust a jilrdWihe^i^onldMbe: m tho 
afifelr&rbf (dttiefcsirWheiifa foforfiani refiaisedr*o^frec<t)gnize'beE 
9ctd ? Jaiid'ltflwieVidetice Qrttoth sides w^9<xmfHc ting/ teiorae^ 
her to admit i >the 'trtith, b}H orderiilg: her /to iriirryf tihei young 
manl l^h^iievfertoiifer^arty 13o^ ^^suitTiwa5f&h3eniv.tie w?(ft ptene 

iidering ithetiiet ihiss oppoMot had .failed (to -jap{>at f tbrbngft 
his( dwii f at^ t! ror f nom a Aocfessary <rause/fOn a mail's b^Lrtg 
tonvirtdddfiop^ery, same (hid cried. cmt r that to 
tdhbaicutt^off^ (ifhemup^n' Ctatidii^t in^ted'ih^t-an eKecU-r 
tk>ner bia^9ia/nrn(i>r^ at' once wi^ knife aAd WopCk; Ii^aicttae 
iiirvxr>iVttig^feitiacnshipr'a ifrUiltess; dispute aroae ; ^am0^g> ttw odt 
vocates aS'to whefcherthe defendant ought 4^ makfe 

theiloga^orih a Gr^ek mantle,, aaitfee' Emperor ^ 
with .thei (idea <if l^tewmg iab$ol^te toipartd^li^Mivack^im 
Change hisigarfe: se\^al tiine3, acof ding; ^s : ,hei\Mas aoeufi^d; 
tfrrttefewled Ajln^one ; cas^ he- is ; cr^dit^d rfvfthxbaYing iren^er^ 
the^faliowing decision,! which he had i a ctyay written ( out 
beforehand:, U I, decide in- favofrdf those who have ^tolcli tbel 

42ttQi*oF O'*Yofq fcrntfm 


bate: "You are both an old man and a fool." All the world 
knows that a Roman Knight, who was tried for improper 
conduct towards women on a false charge trumped up by un- 
scrupulous enemies, seeing common strumpets called as wit- 
nesses against him and their testimony admitted, hurled the 
stylus and tablets which he held in his hand into the Em- 
peror's face with such force as to cut his cheek badly, at the 
same time loudly reviling his cruelty and stupidity. 

He also assumed the office of Censor, which had long been 
discontinued, ever since the term of Plancus and Paulus. 
But in this office too he was variable, and both his theory and 
his practice were inconsistent. In his review of the Knights 
he let off a young man of evil character, whose father said 
that he was perfectly satisfied with him, without any public 
censure, saying "He has a censor of his own." Another who 
was notorious for corruption and adultery he merely admon- 
ished to be more restrained in his indulgence, or at any rate 
more circumspect, adding, "For why should I know what 
mistress you keep?" When he had removed the mark of cen- 
sure affixed to one man's name, yielding to the entreats of 
the latter's friends, he said: "But let the erasure be seen." 
He not only struck from the list of jurors a man of high 
birth, a leading citizen of the province of Greece, because he 
did not know Latin, but even deprived him of the rights of 
citizenship. Nor in this review would he permit any one to 
render the account of his life by an advocate, but obliged 
each man to speak for himself in the best way he could. And 
he degraded many, some contrary to their expectation and 
on the novel charge that they had left Italy without consult- 
ing him and obtaining leave of absence. One man he so 
treated merely because he had been companion to a King 
in his province, citing the case of Rabirius Fostumus, who in 
bygone days had been tried for treason because he had fol- 
lowed Ptolemy to Alexandria, to recover a loan. When he 
attempted to degrade still more, he found them :n most cases 
blameless. For, owing to the great carelessness of his agents, 
but to his own greater shame, those whom he accused of 
celibacy, childlessness, or lack of means proved that they 
were married, or fathers, or well-to-do. In fact, one man, who 


was charged with having stabbed himself stripped off his 
clothing and showed a body without a scar. 

Other noteworthy acts of his censorship were the follow- 
ing. He had a silver chariot of costly workmanship, which 
was offered for sale in the Sigillaria, 1 bought and cut to pieces 
in his presence. In one single day he made twenty proclama- 
tions, among them two: in one of which he advised every- 
body that when the yield of the vineyards is bountiful the 
wine casks should be well smeared with pitch; and in the 
other that nothing was so effective a cure for snake-bite as the 
juice of the yew tree. 

He made but one campaign and that of little importance. 
When the Senate voted him the triumphal regalia, thinking 
the honor beneath the imperial dignity and desiring the glory 
of a legitimate triumph, he chose Britain as the best place for 
gaining it, a land that had been attempted by no one since 
the Deified Julius and was just at that time in a state of re- 
bellion because of the refusal to return certain deserters. On 
the voyage thither from Ostia he was nearly cast away 
twice in furious north-westers, off Liguria and near the 
Stoechades 2 islands. Therefore he made the journey from 
Massilia 8 all the way to Gesoriacum 4 by land, crossed from 
there, and without any battle or bloodshed received the sub- 
mission of a part of the island, returned to Rome within six 
months after leaving the city, and celebrated a triumph of 
great splendor. To witness the sight he allowed not only the 
Governors of the provinces to come to Rome, but even some 
of the exiles. And among the tokens of his victory he set a 
naval crown on the gable of the Palace beside the civic 
crown, as a sign that he had crossed and, as it were, subdued 
the Ocean. His wife Messalina followed his chariot in a car- 
riage, as did also those who had won the triumphal regalia in 
the same war. The rest marched on foot in purple-bordered 
togas, except Marcus Crassus Frugi, who rode a caparisoned 
horse and wore a tunic embroidered with palms, because he 
was receiving the honor for the second time. 

1 There was both a quarter and a street in Rome by this name. 

2 lies d'Hyfcres, off Toulon. 
8 Marseilles. 

4 Boulogne. 


to itiaeicaitci Sof stbe 

city and the 

IweHnf the JAensffiajkd^has remoioed^in ^the f Didbitoriirai ^ )for 
tiro imgty^ and Men afbody tf toldiete aaidieffhhiotvnlflayei 
oruldi nfcflighteJStiffW^'Mp}*^^ the! C^itanonB 

from lallparts of the city IftrQii&b the^nagistilates^ taad 'placfing 
b^tgB/iiil ^f. money before rthera,/ urged nh 
pdyihgtteachl man > 00 the -spDti^a! isuitablfc reward i 

scarcityi ofigram beq^usfe icrf 

tinued droughts, he was once stopped itt>Ae Twiddle) <0friJ 
Fonnritby a itob and . so [belfcedwida abuse -and! aii the 

ifwith pieces <bf bread^theLt he iwks barely able ;tt) anakii 
e' Palace by a) bkck door, After 
eiiery possible. Jndansit9ldparmgi griin- tb 
o tbeim^r(thantis i^ he]d 
certainty, of tprofit < by tasfeUfirirlg' .'the ex|>eotsei bfi i^fy ibs& libdt 
thdyrmigbt Buffer. from ietorirtsj To i 
merchat3t^hiiis>he offered Jairg& bounties adapted to. 
ditioniofi e&ch* nainpiy: to > a. citizen, ^xemptioa 
Pam P0$pota;^ t ) those *wiio.:hadiHtnited 
ri^hrtisiof foil .bhiie 
the molhfcrs-'bf Jodrjdhikirfeii.MAniiiall tbeseipdJVisites.aire ih 
force itb4dajnf'(tM ol h'j/iuij'i ^Iifijil-ii ',*j ";o }(j,u 

tiil ^hefpfch^n/.EntaenbUsL 'Ihe^ were in 
Icrwingr,^ ) Jt;ci ,'>mo>I <>) ',nii o) r'v>rh/nf| ' r!j io 
f> An a^u^Uotvbe^h'byi CaKgida^: Aisoi; the /outlet of sEflfee 
aiiiOstia^ aHhoiightfinitheitrate/xrf 

dit > 6iu^d'^e;for 
the > 

1 A suburb of 7^,0^ r^; T 

2 Dio <LV, 8) calls this the largest building ever covered hy a single 
roof. Ikons ihlJthtl GunfluaiMaTtius.f Jn. ^^/ 

counted. .olu(/r li 

After the failure of Augustus' marriage law (See 
less rigorous one was passed, 9 AJ>. 

a n T III 

WJ-lKfy W-W^ejinje w; 
^jiqteflrtae i n^ 1 bpj,,al 1 Qstai by 

j/iii, j- / 1 i- i -'i\-. i --jiv 'v'' nT.rrtui - 
on the right and lefjt,.,}vhjJe p&f^.jtnf; ^np^p^- 

lj W u$t jfmmjEgypJ, and, $tn sMuf. it>^l^jb>%,'unoij 

!. gapi^^M^jn 

had ever seen or would ever see again." For some were 
living who had s&irtbtSft* Befttfe, 'Snd>i0mfr*ttar8 fwhoHbad 

Sflj Or yol'J fr;').T ^f,w fnrii HOI ')ii'! l"fi<;iii'l Hi; in l^"llinsil'>'llJ a 

i Brought by 


appeared at the former performance appeared at that time 
as well. He often gave games in the Vatican Circus l also, at 
times with a beast-baiting between every five races. But the 
Great Circus he adorned with barriers of marble and gilded 
goals, whereas before they had been of common seats to the 
Senators, who had been in the habit of viewing the games 
with the rest of the people. In addition to the chariot races 
he exhibited the game called Troy and also panthers, which 
were hunted down by a squadron of the praetorian cavalry 
under the lead of the Tribunes and the Prefect himself. He 
also exhibited Thessalian horsemen, who drive wild bulls all 
over the arena, leaping upon them when they are tired out and 
throwing them to the ground by the horns. 

He gave many gladiatorial shows and in many places: one 
in yearly celebration of his accession, in the Praetorian Camp 
without wild beasts and fine equipment, and one of the 
regular and usual kind in the Saepta; another in the same 
place not in the regular list, short and lasting but a few days, 
to which he was the first to apply the name of sportula, be- 
cause before giving it for the first time he made proclamation 
that he invited the people "as it were to an extempore meal, 
hastily prepared." Now there was no form of entertainment 
at which he was more familiar and free, even thrusting out 
bis left hand, 2 as the Commons did, and counting aloud on 
his fingers the gold pieces which were paid to the victors; 
and ever and anon he would address the audience, and invite 
and urge them to merriment, calling them "masters" from 
time to time, and interspersing feeble and far-fetched jokes. 
For example, when they called for Palumbus 8 he promised 
that they should have him, "if he could be caught." The fol- 
lowing, however, was both exceedingly timely and salutary: 
when he had granted the wooden sword 4 to one of those 
gladiators who fight from a light chariot, for whose discharge 
four sons begged, and the act was received with loud and 
general applause, he at once circulated a note, pointing out 

i Built by Caligula where St. Pete* 's now stands. 
* Undignified in an Emperor. The left arm was kept close to the 
x>dy and covered decently in the folds of the toga, 
"The Dove, nickname of a gladiator. 
4 The symbol oi discharge. 


to the people how greatly they ought to desire children, since 
they saw that they brought favor and protection even to a 
gladiator. He gave representations in the Campus Martius 
of the storming and sacking of a town in the manner of real 
warfare, as well as of the surrender of the Kings of the 
Britons, and presided clad in a general's cloak. Even when 
he was on the point of letting out the water from Lake 
Fucinus he gave a sham sea-fight first. But when the com- 
batants cried out, "Hail, Emperor, they who are about to 
die salute thee," he replied, "Or not." l Taking this to mean 
he wished to excuse them from this encounter, they all re- 
fused to fight. Upon this he hesitated for some time about 
destroying them all with fire and sword, but at last leaping 
from his throne and running along the edge of the lake with 
his ridiculous tottering gait, he induced them to fight, partly 
by threats and partly by promises. At this performance a 
Sicilian and a Rhodian fleet engaged, each numbering twelve 
triremes, and the signal was sounded on a horn by a silver 
Triton, which was raised from the middle of the lake by a 
mechanical device. 

Touching religious ceremonies and civil and military cus- 
toms, as well as the condition of all classes at home and 
abroad, he corrected various abuses, revived some old cus- 
toms or even established new ones. In admitting priests into 
the various colleges he never named any one until he had 
first taken oath. He scrupulously observed the custom ol 
having the Praetor call an assembly and proclaim a holiday, 
whenever there was an earthquake within the city, as well 
as that of offering up a supplication whenever a bird of ill- 
omen was seen on the Capitol. This last he himself conducted 
in his capacity of Chief Priest, first reciting the form of words 
to the people from the rostra, after all mechanics and slaves 
had been ordered to withdraw. 

The season for holding court, formerly divided into a win- 
ter and a summer term, he made continuous. Jurisdiction in 
cases of trust, which it had been usual to assign each year 
and only to magistrates in the city, he delegated for all time 
and extended to the Governors of the provinces. He an* 

1 About to die. One of Claudius* feeble jokes. 



addrf! 60 


wctje banwhat &Kimfe>pr^iwjbytif$ magistral 
bcsddbantfd fifouf 
parted upott 

o iWbcri 

' bendb. He t03erve(i t^ 
hicb ited 


tJbat of *nigbt| alst). fThoiigfe'to-^adfdiSGlarecl at the bgin r f 


wbdidid ndt \ 

fat^dr^M g 

but only on condition that he should first ^e 

but fiheb Reborn: isqn^ 

which Senators were not allowed to do. 

* The state treasury in.tW<tipHi0leblfittft)itbaM(J.(Uroi j UQ <JA 


with, theiu armies^ to pre vent, their i seeking all :febrt5 of 
t texts for wa*. To; Aldus Plautiiis he alsa granted art ;o 
feoingiDUt^to dieet kai&ivheii he entered the city , aodhocuOrinf 
jKiri *y rwaifcing .to-his'lleft *s/they/TOttii to the,Cajpit<fl a*$ 
-backi Heiallowed Gabirrius Setrundus to aesufrte .the surname 
icrf>CaucMua becaus^i (of'hife conquest !otf;ihti'GaUehi',) a. 

f tbe command: ,of a. -cohort , they :wece promoted Uo ,head i n 

Jfe, ala6i instituted a; series of j militai^ ^positions lapdi ai 
f<>fictitiQiiB >ser#icfy t wbich^is; called 

the Sena t-e- pass, a decree fprtoddirtg 
Ihouses of ^Seriat^rS tdi,pay ;tbem respec 
pcopfeijt^/ojE ithose^wdmen; who? pussed es ( 
tid f educed to stovety' ag^in 
4mtjto their 

oiuW pot sntertajflistfy wHi 
their rown> I 

teecati^e ,of i.tbe 


ril But if any 

through the towns of Italy except on foot, or in a , 

^jm- 'Jo j'/ii.'ur.M) -unvJnr^ 

u j;i '' V4>'i "*s4 * v '->ii ; '|J. f- lj J ^' i*'-fi' (J.i^i u 

onia, which Tiberius nad taken into his owji 

In the Tiber at Rome, opposite the Campus MarifeftS"^ nwd hri 


people of Ilium perpetual exemption from tribute, on the 
ground that they were the founders of the Roman race, 
reading upon the occasion an ancient letter of the Senate and 
people of Rome written in Greek to King Seleucus, in which 
they promised him their friendship and alliance only on con- 
dition that he should keep their kinsfolk of Ilium free from 
every burden. Since the Jews constantly made disturbances 
at the instigation of Chrestus, 1 he expelled them from Rome. 
He allowed the envoys of the Germans to sit in the orchestra, 
being moved to do so by their naive self-confidence. For, 
when they had been taken to the seats occupied by the com- 
mon people and saw the Parthian and Armenian envoys 
sitting with the Senate, they moved of their own accord to 
the same part of the theater, protesting that their merits and 
rank were no whit inferior. He utterly abolished the cruel and 
inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which un- 
der Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citi- 
zens. On the other hand, he even attempted to transfer the 
Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple 
of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through 
age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman peo- 
ple. He struck his treaties with foreign princes in the Forum, 
sacrificing a pig and reciting the ancient formula of the Fetial 
Priests. 2 But these and other acts, and in fact almost the 
whole conduct of his reign, were dictated not so much by his 
own judgment as that of his wives and freedmen, since he 
nearly always acted in accordance with their interests and 

He was betrothed twice at an early age: to Aemilia Lepida, 
great-granddaughter of Augustus, and to Livia Medullina, 
who also had the surname of Camilla and was descended 
from the ancient family of Camillus the Dictator. He put 
away the former before their marriage, because her parents 
had offended Augustus. The latter was taken ill and died on 

1 Roman and Greek form of Christus. But Jesus Christ was supposed 
to have been crucified in Tiberius' reign. A good example of how hazy 
the early Jewish-Christian question was in the minds of contemporary 
enlightened Romans. 

* They ratified treaties and formally declared war after satisfaction 
had been refused. 


the very day which had been set for the wedding. He then 
married Plautia Urgulanilla, whose father had been honored 
with a triumph, and later Aelia Paetina, daughter of an ex- 
consul. He divorced both these, Paetina for trivial offenses, 
but Urgulanilla "because of scandalous lewdness and the sus- 
picion of murder. Then he married Valeria Messalina, daugh- 
ter of his cousin Messala Barbatus. But when he learned 
that besides other shameful and wicked deeds she had ac- 
tually married Gaius Silius, and that a formal contract had 
been signed in the presence of witnesses, 1 he put her to death 
and declared before the assembled praetorian guard that in- 
asmuch as his marriages did not turn out well, he would re- 
main a widower, and if he did not keep his word, he would 
not refuse death at their hands. Yet he could not refrain from 
at once planning another match, even with Paet'na, whom 
he had formerly discarded, and with Lollia Paulina, who had 
been the wife of Gaius Caesar. But his affections were en- 
snared by the wiles of Agrippina, daughter of his brother 
Germanicus, aided by the right of exchanging kisses at i the 
opportunities for endearments offered by their relationship. 
And at the next meeting of the Senate he induced some of the 
members to propose that he be compelled to marry Agripp' ia, 
on the ground that it was for the interest of the State, and 
that others be allowed to contrac: similar marriages, which up 
to that time had been regarded as incestuous. And he married 
her with hardly a single day's delay. But none were found to 
follow his example save a freedman and a Chief Centurion, 
at the solemnization of whose nuptials both he and Agrip- 
pina attended. 

He had children by three of his wives: by Urgulanilla, 
Drusus and Claudia; by Paetina, Antonia; by Messalina, 
Octavia and a son, at first called Germanicus and later Bri- 
tannicus* He lost Drusus just before he came to manhood, for 
he was strangled by a pear which he had thrown in the air in 
play and caught in his open mouth. A few days before this 

1 Suetonius does not tell all. The occasion was celebrated with a mag- 
nificent supper, to which Messalina invited a large company. Lest they 
think the affair mere frolic, not meant to be consummated, the adulter- 
ous pair ascended the nuptial couch in the presence of the astonished 


to; the rdatfebtfif r6f'Sejanbs K which; 

of fttetftee&hatf Bcrterv withihifivC) 


jHfe gatfe* Aattmikii? tfiamage> toiiGaaews/ 

of -high iDihhi, ^an^Octkvia t, his ^epsort)Nem, after! fete- 
', betrothed tto^Siiattu^ ^Britiiinits was ! 
bOTnJortahe'twenty^eetioii^ SdW^rof his rdigirandlih his second 

offettitafc^ Ukn>inlii ormi and tohimtrid 
goMtrsf/;ahd tathe.peoplef^ ttie 
fe^^br im hiB/6uistretchd .Uatds^ andche woukl 'wish him; 

he gpplaftdfng ih to?&: 
adopted sNeiW), rwaile iPompeiuB. 

vrij 7,1 

Of his ffeetimen ^he^had'Spfedalrhegatd for .t 
Posidee^n/homi'hia evfeii) pre^entBd-with! the Jheadjj^s 
at life Biteishotvibmph^ miooag^withhthose 

j f giving . 

iBrceloJ'f udaea ; and he 'became, die li us band df; 

s; to r whom lie fgrfrntedr t/be {jiiviJegje-^f abiding 


most of all he was devoted to his secretary 

trdksuifer F&lbti, a^dihe ^gl^dly 'aHdwed!them)lt0 >be ^ 

in radditiM byl a; decwe /bf 



and to spare, if he were taken into partnership 

Otherwise restricted to Knights. 

ant. lavishing honors, the command i 


ignorance andiblibdly; Not to^go hrtbifletbite abo4ti' 

hte gjiame^rfesdnin his 


an (uri4up^ J 

^giving! theh>/W! o|>piwtaaimt^)f or 4eto^^^ 

. wb6 was^betrdtlbed Stb hi^ yourtgeroilft.CH these ^Pohipkity^afe 
of I 

' th tee i 

j the idea th odfem*EXhCOTisui,'aid.ihat fai? drder^d^tcfeh .earrfefl 
t, be/ r^pliled ftha4i he9'had.^eriinbl)qd0ri)fByb;rie^(^vBrthfe- 


Bigried! it 
-beirig; induced to/db sol <m/(thd(gf(Bnid 

-tilrai ufidwairath^a'dan^ 

fpDfftentetorthnwrfen ibhejfitnfArqiliiiiilsdljorj bni; JIUOD 

hirf HE ' 

a; jMI aikdkn dBilt wtefa 

many disagreeable traits both in his lightebsthodrnfat^nndl 



mouth and trickle at the nose. He stammered besides and his 
head was very shaky at all times, but especially when he 
made the least exertion. 

Though previously his health was bad, it was excellent 
while he was Emperor except for attacks of pain in the stom- 
ach, which he said all but drove him to suicide. 

He gave frequent and grand dinner parties, as a rule in 
spacious places, where six hundred guests were often enter- 
tained at one time. He even gave a banquet close to the outlet 
of the Fucine Lake and was well-nigh drowned, when the 
water was let out with a rush and deluged the place. He al- 
ways invited his own children to dinner along with the sons 
and daughters of distinguished men, having them sit at the 
feet of the couches as they ate, after the old time custom. 
When a guest was suspected of having stolen a golden bowl 
the day before, he invited him again the next day, but set be- 
fore him an earthenware cup. He is even said to have thought 
of an edict allowing the privilege of breaking wind quietly 
or noisily at table, having learned of a man who endangered 
his own life by restraining himself through modesty. 

He was eager for food and drink at all times and in all 
places. Once when he was holding court in the forum of 
Augustus and had caught the savor of a meal which was pre- 
paring for the priests of Mars in the temple of that God hard 
by, he left the tribunal, went up where the priests were, and 
took his place at their table. He hardly ever left the dining- 
room until he was stuffed and soaked. He then went to sleep 
at once, lying on his back with his mouth open, and a feather 
was put down his throat to relieve his stomach. He slept but 
little at a time, for he was usually awake before midnight. 
But he would sometimes drop off in the daytime while hold- 
ing court and could hardly be roused when the advocates 
raised their voices for the purpose. He was immoderate in his 
passion for women, but wholly free from unnatural vice. He 
was greatly devoted to gaming, even publishing a book on 
the art, and he actually used to play while driving, having 
the board so fitted to his carriage as to prevent his game from 
being disturbed. 

That he was of a cruel and bloodthisty disposition was 
shown in matters great and small. He always exacted ex* 


amination by torture and the punishment of parricides 1 at 
once and in his presence. When he was at Tibur and wished 
to see an execution in the ancient fashion, 2 no executioner 
could be found after the criminals were bound to the stake. 
Whereupon he sent to fetch one from the city and continued 
to wait for him until nightfall. At any gladiatorial show, 
either his own or another's, he gave orders that even those 
who fell accidentally should be slain, in particular the net- 
fighters, so that he could watch their faces as they died. 
When a pair of gladiators had fallen by mutually inflicted 
wounds, he at* once had some little knives made from both 
their swords for his use. He took such pleasure in the com- 
bats with wild beasts and of those that fought at noonday, 
that, anticipating the first, he would go down to the arena 
at daybreak, and, not to miss the second, he would keep his 
seat after dismissing the people for luncheon at midday. In 
addition to the appointed combatants, he would for trivial 
and hasty reasons match others, even the carpenters, the as- 
sistants, and men of that class, if any automatic device, 
pageant piece, or anything else of the kind had not worked 
well. He even forced one of his pages to enter the arena just 
as he was, in his toga. 

But there was nothing for which he was so notorious as 
timidity and suspicion. Although in the early days of his 
reign, as we have said, he made a display of simplicity, he 
never ventured to go to a banquet without being surrounded 
by guards with lances and having his soldiers wait upon him 
in place of the servants. And he never visited a man who was 
ill without having the patient's room examined beforehand 
and his pillows and bed-clothing felt over and shaken out. 
Afterwards he even subjected those who came to pay theiv 
morning calls to search, sparing none the strictest examina- 
tion. Indeed, it was not until late, and then reluctantly, that 
he gave up having women and young boys and girls grossly 
mishandled, and the cases for pens and stylii taken from 
every man's attendant or scribe. When Camillus began his 

1 Seneca, de dementia (I, 23), says Claudius had more parricides 
sewn in leather bags and drowned in five years' time than in all former 

2 For a description of which see Nero. 




mid lor ji/:v 

daget wasdaueht rtear him 
t m hasie by 
hife lot, saying -diat [ there' 

Sifius V i)iffed'>t0 'i 

&kriieffi# krid cowardly ^flight td the ] 
nohift& affl'^wwy fciit *Sfc 'Whftth^r wthfcwifc -' 
^*f^%u{)kipn- was'-tofe ttiviaV fio^ 4 Ilie 'in^inftr M 4t tbtf IBM 
gigfiffafcrft, 't& drive fcto dtt 't6>pretatt$^ T 'an(i 
dn^e a f dlght^iMsinesfe eftte^ed ii^mifid; Oftek 
to a suit, when he made his morning call; \ 

ii^ little toer pfetendin^ito fecidghlze 
bef ptftikl"Wt WS'Opt^entv'^^he 'ivas* hatidittfe in 
^" latter ^ts imffi^dteteV ^^d;<a^ If c6 
p dri* huffied o*f lo "ca@(5iifioii.^n "tfaft'lff 
, : that A^pitis 

fe, they agteed dn thfcfr paftafia 

come at that tipne- wa3 reported to b^ forcing his 

^loll ^]JW'3lWj'^L^ 

immediate accusation and death were ordered. And Claudius 

did not hesitate to recount t 


j r /He-was.^onscious of bia .temitooy tfc math 

excusq&botfe jn an edict; drawing a^distinddonibetwieen 
an<J f^oipising that the f onxr ilvouJd -be short aadirarm- 
the fatter not mthout-cai^. I Afterihaiplywfaidbiiig 
peepjeiof Ostift, because, the}? had sciH no boats tolroeet 
fjie Centered the Ti&er^^adijQ .such bitter terms that 
ithftt Jt^ey had; reduced hifn ta the rank* of <a cbm- 
suddenly forgave thertrand; all ,ht Apologized. 
own hand men who, approached himin 
unseasonable times. He also banished a Quaestor's 
xjlefk witbout a hearing, as well as a Senator of praetorian 
wet^blairielefes;;theriormer,o(r going tod 
in pleading a suit against him before he became Emperor; 
fe, When Aedile, -he had fined the :tenants c jdf 
for violating the law forbidding the selling 
victual*, aod had whipped :his 'bailiff when; be iii- 
And with ther same motive he to6k ; iiuinr the 
rr$gi*feltion of 4he cook-shops; ,, : ^ - r ; 4 j, i 
Qpt^jw keep quiet, about hisr own stupidity ;iirt!in 
tet speeehes;he xJeclaared that fae had :parjiosely 
;it uode^ Caligula, because otherwise he^coultl not 
escaped Alive and atta-ined ;bis present statiom. But he 
-Convinced no one, and Within a short trrne a. book was pufa- 
lB^d,rtl >ttte.0f whkih ^a& ^The Elevation off 
its thesis that no one feigned folly. 

s.meaai iavft' riiarveled fatn 
: blindhessj; cto , to -use .the -Greek tetrasy hfe 
' When he had put Messalinai to death, 
shortly after taking his place at the table why >the 
did pot come. .He .caused many of those : whom, 6e 
death, ^tb Jbe 'Bunundiied the ** very ^ 
ham- if ^ 

with Agrippina. in every speecl} that he made he, 
^Hed %et f - ! his ? da%lit6r : atifl ] tftirsffiEifc "Brjrn khd 
ipi^gjf^, J[^ l^Qy^ ; 
pad enough to adopt a s 


of his own, he publicly declared more than once that no one 
had ever been taken into the Claudian family by adoption. 

In short, he often showed such heedlessness in word and 
act that one would suppose that he did not know or care 
to whom, with whom, when, or where he was speaking. When 
a debate was going on about the butchers and vintners, he 
cried out in the House: "Now, pray, who can live without 
a snack," and then went on to describe the abundance of the 
old taverns to which he himself used to go for wine in earlier 
days. He gave as one of his reasons for supporting a candi- 
date for the quaestorship, that the man's father had once 
given him cold water when he was ill and needed it. Once 
when a witness had been brought before the Senate, he said: 
"This woman was my mother's freedwoman and tire-woman, 
but she always regarded me as her patron. I mention this 
because there are still some in my household now who do not 
look on me as patron." When the people of Ostia made a pub- 
lic petition to him, he flew into a rage on the very tribunal 
and bawled out that he had no reason for obliging them; 
that he was surely free if any one was. In fact every day, and 
almost every hour and minute, he would make such remarks 
as these; "What! do you take me for a Telegenius?" x 
"Scold me, but hands off!" and many others of the same 
kind which would be unbecoming even in private citizens, not 
to mention a prince who lacked neither eloquence nor cul- 
ture, but on the contrary constantly devoted himself to liberal 

He began to write a history in his youth with the encour- 
agement of Titus Livius 2 and the direct help of Sulpicius 
Flavus. But when he gave his first reading to a large audi- 
ence, he had difficulty in finishing, since he more than once 
threw cold water on his own performance. For at the begin- 
ginning of the reading the breaking down of several benches 
by a fat man raised a laugh, and even after the disturbance 
was quieted, Claudius could not keep from recalling the in- 
cident and renewing his guffaws. Even while he was Emperor 

1 Obviously some man proverbial for his folly. Nothing is known 
about him. 

* This famous historian died in A.D. 17 during the reign of Tiberius at 
which time Claudius was about 27. 


he wrote a good deal and gave constant recitals through a 
professional reader. He began his history with the death of 
the Dictator Caesar, but passed to a later period and took a 
fresh start at the end of the civil war, realizing that he was 
not allowed to give a frank or true account of the earlier 
times, since he was often taken to task both by his mother 
and his grandmother. 1 He left two books of the earlier his- 
tory, but forty-one of the later. He also composed an auto- 
biography in eight books, lacking rather in good taste than 
in style, as well as a "Defense of Cicero against the writings 
of Asinius Callus," a work of no little learning. Besides this 
he invented three new letters and added them to the alpha- 
bet, maintaining that they were greatly needed. 2 He published 
a book on their theory when he was still in private life, and 
when he became Emperor had no difficulty in bringing about 
their general use. These characters may still be seen in nu- 
merous books, in the record of daily events, and in inscrip- 
tions on public buildings. 

He gave no less attention to Greek studies, taking every 
occasion to declare his regard for that language and its su- 
periority. To a foreigner who held forth both in Greek and in 
Atin he said: "Since you are ready with both our tongues"; 
and in commending Achaia to Senators he declared that it 
was a province dear to him through the association of kindred 
studies; while in the Senate he often replied in that language 
to Greek envoys. Indeed he quoted many Homeric lines from 
the tribunal, and whenever he had punished an enemy or a 
conspirator, he commonly gave the Tribune of the guard this 
verse when he asked for the usual watchword: 

"Ward off stoutly the man who first assails you." 8 

At last he even wrote historical works in Greek: twenty 
books of Etruscan History and eight of Carthaginian. Because 
of these works there was added to the old Museum at Alex- 
andria a new one called after his name, and it was provided 
that in the one his Etruscan History should be read each year 

1 Daughter and widow respectively of Mark Antony. 

2 h to represent a sound between i and u; ? for bs or ps; t for coa- 
sonantal u. 

* Iliad XXIV, 369- 

THE LFV-BS' 6* *fttt ^1? WKL'Vf 7LES A RS 

; afttHtf tSfe Mber hfc for*hafcit*my bf 

fo* ffis'mferrfagfc wfffr 
fifta 1 of Ner6V Fptr; wfoetf his* f reMftieii e*prefce<i <t 
A trialin ^wfeth life liaS the >'&txy t^f 

^il f ecfeive 

bis f father j in ^ate^irit >ttf ; all that ^ h^^ had- tkifeeV adding 
&&&} "He wh5 1 d^atethfe Krotiitd^ai heal i 
pr^ss^d his intention 6fgivkig Britannkils th6 

and hrmiittirej 
feSt Kave a gteuihe 

' Not j long tfftervrtrrds fe>al^ AAde Its' ^fH a^fd lie^ted ft 
with the seals of all the magistrates; But befo^hg tfttild-gbf 
^iy ' hiFfher, ^ he 4vs,& cut^hSofrt ty' Agrij>piiia, who ^as bifag 
accused twsid^s^f^ man^ bth&r ^migs -t^th' tiy het owri^COft^ 
^feribe and fey inform^. '"' v- i : : . /{ .vj!;.ji -. 
Th^t^daitidi^s i Was ^isobe* fe the genef^belfef^tit Whfcn 
ft ^r^^ddtifc anA by whdm r isr di^ptft^ai ^Sdmtr say ttet ft was 
his taster, the eunuch Halotus, as he was banqtieting Oft the 
with the priest. Others say th4t at a family dinner 
st^^d thfe dnig to^hft wftVh^^Wtt ftand-' iri 
; g'dfsh of Wbifeh hd was^Jftffevagarttl^lOfidJRe^ 
ports ^ited^ differ s td -tf Hat f 6Hc^w^ r Many; ay 1 that ?ar ^m* 
as he swallowed the poison he? bc^arne speeches v atid after 

suffering^ excrijciati^g , pam all r ni^ht^ . dje . 

Some say tnaif 'he first fell iiito a'stupbr, then vomited up the 
whofo ?conteit3 of his overloadfid ^toinadi r :and was>giveh a 
second* dose, perhaps in a gfnie! r rader pretense that be samt! 
fciod^after his^hartjsttoti;i 

His death w$s Iw^^k^^^^j^r^^^gipnw^ 

, . 
1 His own son, by Messalina ; later poisoned by NOK& liifefiQbpfctiikwi. 


for his safety, as if he were still ill, and the farce was kept 
up by bringing in comic actors, under pretense that he had 
asked to be entertained in that way. He died on the third 
day before the Ides of October in the consulship of Asinius 
Marcellus and Acilius Aviola, in the sixty-fourth year of his 
age and the fourteenth of his reign. He was buried with regal 
pomp and enrolled among the Gods, an honor neglected and 
finally annulled by Nero, but later restored to him by 

The principal omens of his death were the following: 
the rise of a long-haired star, commonly called a comet; the 
striking of his father Drusus' tomb by lightning; and the 
fact that many magistrates of all ranks had died that same 
year. There are besides some indications that he himself was 
not unaware of his approaching end, and that he made no 
secret of it. For, when he was appointing the Consuls, he 
made no appointment beyond the month when he died. On 
his last appearance in the Senate, after earnestly exhorting 
his children to harmony, he begged the members to watch 
over the tender years of both. And in the last cause he heard 
from the tribunal he declared more than once that he had 
reached the end of a mortal career, although all who heard 
him shrank at the ominous words and prayed "may God 




OF the Domitian family two branches have acquired dis* 
tinction, the Calvini and the Ahenobarbi. The- latter have as 
the founder of their race and the origin of their surname 
Lucius Domitius, to whom, as he was returning from the 
country, there once appeared twin youths of more than mor- 
tal majesty, so it is said, and bade him carry to the Senate 
and people the news of a victory, which was as yet unknown. 1 
And as a token of their divinity it is said that they stroked 
his cheeks and turned his black beard to a ruddy hue, like 
that of bronze. This sign was perpetuated in his descendants, 
a great part of whom had red beards. After they had attained 
seven Consulships, a Triumph, and two Censorships, and 
were enrolled among the patricians, they all continued to use 
the same surname. They confined their forenames to Gnaeus 
and Lucius, and used even these with a noteworthy variation^ 
now conferring each one on three members of the family in 
succession, and now giving them to individual members in 
turn. Thus the first, second, and third of the Ahenobarbi, we 
are told, were called Lucius, the next three in order Gnaeus, 
while all those that followed were called in turn first Lucius 
and then Gnaeus. It seems to me worth while to give an ac- 
count of several members of this family, to show more clearly 
that Nero so far degenerated from the noble qualities of his 
ancestors that he retained only their vices, as if those alone 
had been transmitted to him by natural inheritance. 

To begin then somewhat far back, his great-grandfather^ 
grandfather, Gnaeus Domitius, when Tribune of the Com- 
mons, was enraged at the Pontiffs for choosing another than 
himself in his father's place among them, and transferred the 
right of filling vacancies in the priesthoods from the colleges 

1 Castor and Pollux were the youths, the victory that at Lake Regtttaf , 



themselves to the people. Then having vanquished the Allo- 
broges and the Arverni * in his consulship, he rode through 
the province on an elephant, attended by a throng of soldiers, 
in a kind of triumphal procession. 2 He it was of whom the 
orator Licinius Crassus said that it was not surprising that 
he had a brazen beard, since he had a face of iron and a heart 
of lead. His son, who was Praetor at the time, summoned 
Gaius Ceasar to an investigation before the Senate at the dose 
of his consulship, because it was thought that his administra- 
tion had been in violation of the auspices and the laws. After- 
wards in his own consulship he tried to deprive Caesar of the 
command of the armies in Gaul, and being named Caesar's 
successor by his party, was taken prisoner at Corfinium at 
the beginning of the civil war. Granted his freedom, he at first 
gave courage by his presence to the people of Massilia, who 
were hard pressed by their besiegers, but suddenly abandoned 
them and at last fell in the battle at Pharsalus. He was a 
man of no great resolution, though he had a violent temper, 
and when he once attempted to kill himself in a fit of despair 
and terror, he so shrank from the thought of death that he 
changed his mind and vomited up the poison, conferring free- 
dom on his physician, since, knowing his master, he had pur- 
posely given him what was not a fatal dose. When Gnaeus 
Pompeius brought forward the question of the treatment of 
those who were neutral and sided with neither party, he alone 
was for regarding them as hostile. 

He left a son, who was beyond all question better than the 
rest of the family. He was condemned to death by the Pedian 
law among those implicated in Caesar's death, though he was 
guiltless, and accordingly joined Brutus and Cassius, who 
were his near relatives. After the death of both leaders he 
retained the fleet of which he had previously been made com- 
mander, and even added to it, and it was not until his party 
had been everywhere routed that he surrendered it to Mark 
Antony, of his own free will and as though he were conferring 
a great favor- He too was the only one of those condemned 

1 The Allobroges were a tribe of Gauls inhabiting modern Dauphiny 
and Savoy, the Arverni. the environs of modern Auvergne. 

2 Suetonius 1 error. It was the father of the Tribune who defeated the 

NERO 243 

by that same law who was allowed to return to his native 
land, where he successively held all the highest offices. When 
the civil strife was subsequently renewed, he was appointed 
one of Antony's lieutenants and offered the chief command 
by those who were ashamed of Cleopatra. But not daring, on 
account of a sudden illness with which he was seized, either 
to accept it or yet positively to refuse it, he went over to the 
side of Augustus, and a few days later died. Even he did not 
escape with an unblemished reputation, for Antony openly 
declared that he had changed sides from desire for the com- 
pany of his mistress, Servilia Nais. 

He was the father of the Domitius who was later well 
known from being named in Augustus* will as the purchaser 
of his goods and chattels. 1 He was a man less famous in his 
youth for his skill in driving than he was later for winning 
the insignia of a triumph in the war in Germany. But he was 
haughty, extravagant, and cruel, and when he was only an 
Aedile, he forced the Censor Lucius Piancus to make way for 
him on the street. While holding the offices of Praetor and 
Consul, he brought Roman Knights and matrons on the stage 
to act a farce. He gave beast-baitings both in the Circus and 
in all the regions of the city, and also a gladiatorial show, but 
with such inhuman cruelty that Augustus, after his private 
warning was disregarded, was forced to restrain him by an 

He had by the elder Antonia a son Domitius who became 
the father of Nero, a man hateful in every walk of life. For, 
when he had gone to the East on the staff of the young Gaius 
Caesar, he slew one of his own freedmen for refusing to drink 
as much as he was ordered, and when he was in consequence 
dismissed from the number of Gaius' friends, he lived not a 
whit less lawlessly. On the contrary, in a villag 
Way, suddenly whipping up his team, 
and killed a boy. And at Rome, right in 
out the eye 2 of a Roman Knight 
chiding him. He was moreover so < 
cheated some bankers of the pric 

l Thabis, his executor, who syxnboli< 

fcamed in the will before he made the desi 

2 A favorite mode of attack among the 


bought, but in his praetor ship he even defrauded the victors 
in the chariot races of the amount of their prizes. When for 
this reason he was held up to scorn by the jests of his own 
sister, and the managers of the troupes made complaint, he 
issued an edict * that the prizes should thereafter be paid on 
the spot Just before the death of Tiberius he was also charged 
with treason, as well as with acts of adultery and with incest 
with his sister Lepida, but escaped owing to the change of 
rulers and died of dropsy at Pyrgi, after acknowledging Nero 
son of Agrippina, the daughter of Germanicus. 

Nero was born at Antium nine months after the death of 
Tiberius, on the eighteenth day before the Kalends of Janu- 
ary, just as the sun rose, so that he was touched by its rays 
almost before he could be laid upon the ground. Many people 
at once made many direful predictions from his horoscope, 
and a remark of his father Domitius was also regarded as 
an omen. For, while receiving the congratulations of his 
friends, he said that nothing that was not abominable and a 
public bane could be born of Agrippina and himself. Another 
manifest indication of Nero's future unhappiness occurred 
on his naming day. 2 For, when Gaius Caesar was asked by 
his sister to give the child whatever name he liked, he looked 
at his uncle Claudius, who later became Emperor and adopted 
Nero, aud said that he gave him his name. This he did, not 
seriously, but in jest, and Agrippina scorned the proposal, 
because at that time Claudius was one of the laughing-stocks 
of Xhe court. 

At the age of three he lost his father, being left heir to a 
third of his estate. But even this he did not receive in fufl, 
since his fellow heir Gaius * seized f all the property. Then his 
mother was banished too, and he was brought up at the house 
of Jus aunt Lepida almost in actual want, under two tutors, 
a dancer and a barber. But when Claudius became emperor, 
Nero not only recovered his father's property, but was also 
enriched by an inheritance from his stepfather, Passienus 
Crispus. When his mother was recalled from banishment and 
reinstated, he became so prominent through her influence 

* In hfe capacity of Praetor, 
:* For *w &* #k 

that it leaked out that Messalina, wife of Claudius, had sent 
emissaries to strangle him as he was taking his noonday nap, 
regarding him as a rival of Britannicus. An addition to this 
-bit of gossip is, ?that the would-be assassins were* frightened 
away by a snake which darted out from under his pillow. 
The only foundation for this tale was, that there was found 
in his bed near the pillow the slough <rf a serpent. All the 
same, at his mother's desire he had the skin enclosed in a 
golden bracelet, and wore it for a long-time on his right arm. 
But when at last the memory of his mother grew hateful to 
him, he threw it away, and afterwards in the time of his ex- 
tremity sought it again in Vain. 

While he was still a young, half -grown boy he took part in 
the game of Troy at a performance in the Circus with great 
self-possession and success. In the eleventh year of his age 
he was adopted by Claudius and consigned to the training of 
Annaeus Seneca, 1 who was then already a Senator. They say 
that on the following night Seneca dreamed that he was teach- 
ing Gaius Caligula, and Nero soon proved the dream pro- 
phetic by revealing the cruelty of his disposition at the earli- 
est possible opportunity. For merely because his brother 
Britannicus had, after his adoption, greeted him as usual as 
Ahenobarbus, he tried to convince his father 2 that Britan- 
nicus was a changeling. Also when his aunt Lepida was ac- 
cused, he publicly gave testimony against her, to gratify his 
mother, who was using every effort to ruin Lepida. 

At his formal introduction into public life he announced 
a largess to the people and a gift of money to the soldiers, or- 
dered a parade of the praetorian guard and headed them 
shield in hand. After this he returned thanks to his father in 
ihe Senate. In the latter's consulship he pleaded before him 
the cause of the people of Bononia in Latin, and of those of 
Rhodes and Ilium in Greek. His first appearance as judge 
was when he was Prefect of the City during the Latin Festi- 
val, when the most celebrated pleaders vied with one another 
.in bringing before him, not trifling and brief cases according 

1 this" famous stoic and philosophical writer had; shortly before ,ihe 
;d*at& of Tiberius, been released from an eight-year exile in Corsica. He 
afterwards fell a victim to the jealousy and cruelty of Nero. 

* His adoptive father, Claudius. 


to the usual custom, but many of the highest importance, 
though this had been forbidden by Claudius. Shortly after- 
wards he took Octavia to wife and gave games and a beast- 
baiting in the Circus, that health might be vouchsafed 

When the death of Claudius was made public, Nero, who 
was seventeen years old, went forth to the watch between the 
sixth and seventh hour, since no earlier time for the formal 
beginning of his reign seemed suitable because of bad omens 
throughout the day. Hailed Emperor on the steps of the 
Palace, he was carried in a litter to the praetorian camp, 
and after a brief address to the scfldiers was taken from there 
to the House. He did not leave there until evening, and, of 
the unbounded honors that were heaped upon him, he re- 
fused but one, the title of Father of his Country, and that 
because of his youth. 

Then beginning with a display of filial piety, he gave Clau- 
dius a magnificent funeral, spoke his eulogy, and deified him. 
He paid the highest honors to the memory of his father Do- 
mitius. He left to his mother the management of all public 
and private business. Indeed, on the first day of his rule he 
gave to the Tribune on guard the watchword "The Best of 
Mothers," and afterwards he often rode with her through 
the streets in her litter. He established a colony at Antium, 
where he settled the veterans of the praetorian guard to- 
gether with the richest Chief Centurions, whom he compelled 
to change their residence. And he also made a harbor there 
at great expense. 

To make his good intentions still more evident, he declared 
that he would rule according to the principles of Augustus, 
and he let slip no opportunity for acts of generosity and 
mercy, or even for displaying his affability. The more oppres- 
sive sources of revenue he either abolished or moderated. He 
reduced the rewards paid to informers against violators of 
the Papia-Poppaean law to one-fourth of the former amount. 
He distributed four hundred sesterces * to each man of the 
people, and granted to the most distinguished of the Senators 
who were without means an annual salary, to some as much 

* $1640. 

NERO 247 

as five hundred thousand sesterces* 1 To the praetorian co- 
horts he gave a monthly allowance of grain free of cost* 
When he was asked according to custom to sign the warrant 
for the execution of a man who had been condemned to 
death, he said: "How I wish I had never learned to write!" 
He greeted men of all orders off-hand and from memory. 
When the Senate returned thanks to him, he replied, "When 
I shall have deserved them." He admitted even the Commons 
to witness his exercises in the Campus, and often declaimed 
in public. He read his poems too, not only at home but in 
the theater as well, so greatly to the delight of all that a 
thanksgiving 2 was voted because of his recital, while those 
publicly read were inscribed in letters of gold and dedicated 
to Jupiter of the Capitol. 

He gave many entertainments of different kinds: the 
Juvenales, 8 chariot races in the Circus, stage-plays, and a 
gladiatorial show. At the first mentioned he had even old men 
of consular rank and aged matrons take part. For the games 
in the Circus he assigned places to the Knights apart from 
the rest, 4 and even matched chariots drawn by four camels. 
At the plays which he gave for the "Eternity of the Em- 
pire," which by his order were called the Ludi Maximi, parts 
were taken by several men and women of both the senatorial 
order and that of the Knights. A well-known Knight mounted 
an elephant apd slid down a rope. A Roman play of Afranius, 
too, was staged, entitled "The Fire," and the actors were al- 
lowed to carry off the furniture of the burning house and 
keep it. Every day all kinds of presents were thrown to the 
people. These included a thousand birds of every kind each 
day, various kinds of food, tickets for grain, clothing, gold, 
silver, precious stones, pearls, paintings, slaves, beasts of bur- 
den, even trained wild animals, and finally, ships, blocks of 
bouses, and farms. 

These plays he viewed from the top. of the proscenium. At 
the gladiatorial show, which he gave in a wooden amphi 

* An honor previously conferred only on generals after a great victory. 

* In commemoration of the first shaving of his beard. 

4 Formerly done only at the theater, though Augustus had given the 
Senators special seats at other public spectacle*. 


theater, ejected in the district of the C^uttpos^ Mar tiufe withitf 
the ^pace of a single year, he had no &ne put to death, not 
even criminals. But he compelled four hundred Senators and 
six hundred Roman Knights, some of whom were well to do 
and of unblemished reputation, to fight in the arena. Even- 
those who fought with the wild beasts and performed the 
various services in the arena were of the samfe orders. He also 
exhibited a naval battle in salt water with sa monsters swim- 
ming about in it. He also presented pyrrhic dances by same 
Greek youths, handing each of them certificates of Roman 
citizenship at the close of his performance. The pyrrhic 
dances represented various scenes. In One a bull mounted 
Pasiphae, who was concealed in a wooden statue of a cow, or 
at least many of the spectators thought so. Icarus at his very 
first attempt to fly fell dose by the imperial couch and be- 
spattered the Emperor with his blood. For Nero very sel- 
dom presided at the games, but used to view them while re- 
clining cm a couch, at first through small openings, though 
later with his entire box uncovered. 

He was likewise the first to establish at Rome a quinquen- 
nial contest in three parts, in the Greek manner, that is in 
musk, gymnastics, and horse-racing, which he called the 
Neronia, dedicating at the same time his baths and gym- 
nasium 1 where he supplied every member of the senatorial 
and equestrian orders with rubbing oil. To preside as judges 
over the whole contest he appointed ex-consuls, chosen by 
lot, who occupied the seats of the Praetors. Then he went 
down into the orchestra among the Senators and accepted 
die prize lor Latin oratory and vetse, for which all the most 
eminent men had contended but which was given to him with 
their unanimous consent. But when that for lyre-playing 
Was also offered him by the judges, he knelt before it and or- 
dered that it be laid at the feet of. Augustus 1 stattte. At the 
gymnastic contest, which he gave in the Saepta, he shaved 
his first bete3 to the accompaniment of a splendid sacrifice of 
bullocks, put it in a golden box adorned with pearls of great 

Martiut, near tte Pantheon. 
No trace of them remaj** 

NERO 249 

Virgins also to witness the contests of the athletes, 1 becausfe 
at Olympia the priestesses of Ceres were allowed the same 

I may fairly include among his shows the entrance of 
Tiridates into the city. He was a King of Armenia, whom 
Nero induced by great promises to come to Rome. Since he 
was prevented by bad weather from exhibiting him to the 
people on the day appointed by proclamation, he produced 
him at the first favorable opportunity, with the praetorian 
cohorts drawn up in full armor about the temples in the 
Forum, while he himself sat in a curule chair on the rostra 
in the attire of a triumphing general, surrounded by military 
ensigns and standards. As the King approached along a slop- 
ing platform, the Emperor at first let him fall at his feet, 
but raised him with his right hand and kissed him. Then, 
while the King made supplication, Nero took the turban 
from his head and replaced it with a diadem, while a man of 
praetorian rank translated the words of the suppliant and 
proclaimed them to the throng. From there the King was 
taken to the theater, and when he had again done obeisance, 
Nero gave him a seat at his right hand. Because of all this 
Nero was hailed as Imperator, and after depositing a laurel 
wreath in the Capitol, 2 he closed the two doors of the temple 
of Janus, as a sign that no war was left anywhere. 

He held four consulships, the first for two months, the sec- 
ond and the last for six months each, the third for four 
months. The second and third were in successive years, while 
a year intervened between these and each of the others. 

In the administration of justice he was reluctant to render 
a decision to those who presented cases, except on the follow- 
ing day and in writing. His procedure was, instead of con- 
tinuous pleadings, to have each point presented separately 
by the parties in turn. Furthermore, whenever he withdrew 
for consultation, he did not discuss any matter with all his 
advisers in a body, but had each of them give his opinion in 
written form. These he read silently and in private and then 

1 Augustus had prohibited all women from the gladiatorial fights and 
the athletic contests. 
* Which was usual only after a triumph. : 


gave a verdict according to his own inclination, as if it were 
the view of the majority. 

For a long time he would not admit the sons of freedmen 
to the Senate and he refused office to those who had been 
admitted by his predecessors. Candidates who were in excess 
of the number of vacancies received the command of a legion 
as compensation for the postponement and delay. He com- 
monly appointed Consuls for a period of six months. When 
one of them died just before the Kalends of January, he ap- 
pointed no one in his place, expressing his disapproval of the 
old precedent of Caninus Rebilus, who was Consul but one 
day. He conferred the triumphal regalia even on men of the 
rank of Quaestor, as well as on some of the Knights, and some- 
times for other than military services. As regards the speeches 
which he sent to the Senate on various matters, he passed 
over the Quaestors, whose duty it was to read them, and 
usually had them presented by one of the Consuls. 

He devised a new form for the buildings of the city and in 
front of the houses and apartments he erected porches, from 
*he flat roofs of which fires could be fought. 1 These he put up 
at his own cost. He had also planned to extend the walls as 
far as Ostia and to bring the sea from there to Rome by a 

During his reign many abuses were severely punished and 
put down, and not a few new laws were made: a limit was 
set to expenditures; the public banquets were confined to a 
distribution of food; the sale of any kind of cooked viands 
in the taverns was forbidden, with the exception of pulse 
and vegetables, whereas before every sort of dainty was ex- 
posed for sale. Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, 
a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition. 2 
He put an end to the diversions of the chariot drivers, who 
from immunity of long standing claimed the right of ranging 
at large and amusing themselves by cheating and robbing the 

1 This was undoubtedly after the great fire. 

, * Tacitus, in Annals XIII, 33, calls the Christian religion "a foreign 
and deadly superstition." Pliny in Letter 97 of Book X tails it "a de- 
praved, wicked, and outrageous superstition." 

NERO 351 

people. The pantomimic actors and their partisans were ban- 
ished from the city. 1 

It was in his reign that a protection against forgers was 
first devised, by having no tablets signed that were not bored 
with holes through which a cord was thrice passed. 2 In the 
case of wills it was provided that the first two leaves should 
be presented to the signatories with only the name of the tes- 
tator written upon them, and that no one who wrote a will 
for another should put down a legacy for himself; further, 
that clients should pay a fixed and reasonable fee for the serv- 
ices of their lawyers, but nothing at all for the court, which 
was to be gratuitous, the charges for it to be paid by the 
public treasury. It was also ordained that the pleading of 
cases connected with the treasury should be transferred to 
the Forum and a board of arbiters, and that all appeals from 
the juries should be made to the Senate. 

So far from being actuated by any wish or hope of increas- 
ing or extending the empire, he even thought of withdrawing 
the army from Britain and changed his purpose only because 
he was ashamed to seem to belittle the glory of his father. 8 
He increased the provinces only by the realm of Pontus, when 
it was given up by Polemon, and that of Cottius in the Alps 
on the latter's death. 

He planned but two foreign tours, to Alexandria and 
Achaia. The former he gave up on the very day when he 
was to have started, disturbed by a threatening portent. For 
as he was making the round of the temples and had sat down 
in the shrine of Vesta, first the fringe of his garment caught 
when he attempted to get up, and then such darkness over- 
spread his eyes that he could see nothing. In Achaia he at- 
tempted to cut through the Isthmus 4 and called together 
the praetorians and urged them to begin the work. Then, 
at a signal given on a trumpet, he was first to break ground 

i Because of their disorderly conduct. But his was worse. 

* The tablets consisted of three leaves, two of which were bound to- 
gether and sealed. The contract was written twice, on the open leaf and 
on the closed ones. In cases of dispute the seals were broken and the two 
versions compared. 

* Claudius, his adoptive father. 
< Of Corinth. 


with a mattock and to carry off a basketful of earth upon 
his shoulders. He also prepared for an expedition to the Pass 
of the Caspian Mountains, after enrolling a new legion of raw 
recruits of Italian birth, each six feet tall, 1 which he called 
the "phalanx of Alexander the Great." 

I have brought together these acts of his, some of which 
are beyond criticism, while others are even deserving of no 
slight praise, to separate them from his shameful and crimi- 
nal deeds, of which I shall proceed now to give an account. 

Having gained some knowledge of music in addition to the 
rest of his early education, as soon as he became Emperor 
he sent for Terpnus, the greatest master of the lyre in those 
days, and after listening to him sing after dinner for many 
successive days until late at night, he little by little began 
to practice himself, neglecting none of the exercises which 
artists of that kind are in the habit of following, to preserve 
or strengthen their voices. For he used to lie upon his back 
and hold a leaden plate on his chest, purge himself by the 
syringe and by vomiting, and deny himself fruits. and all 
foods injurious to the voice. Finally encouraged by his prog- 
ress, although his voice was weak and husky, he began to 
loag to appear on the stage, and every now and then in the 
presence of his intimate friends he would quote a Greek prov- 
erb meaning "Hidden music counts for nothing." And he 
made his debut at Naples, where he did not cease singing 
uatil he had finished the number which he had begun, even 
though the theater was shaken by a sudden earthquake 
shock. 2 In the same city he sang frequently and foi several 
successive days. Even when he took a short time to rest his 
voke, he could not keep out of sight but went to the theater 
after bathing and dined in the orchestra with the people all 
about him, promising them in Greek, that when he had 
wetted his whistle a bit, he would ring out something good 
and loud. He was greatly taken too with the rhythmic ap-, 
plause of some Alexandrians, who had flocked to Naples from 
a fleet that had lately arrived, and summoned more men from 

* Roman measure. A little under 5 ft. 10 in. English. 
* It collapsed in consequence, but not tin the audience bad dispersed. 
Tacitus says nothing about the quake, but- corroborates the f aH of the 
building immediately after the performance. * 

' ' NERO *S3 

-Alexandria. Not content -tfith that, he selected some young 
jfoen of tfce order of Knights and more than five tturasatMl 
stedy young commoners, to be divided into groups and learn 
the Alexandrian styles of applause, which they called "the 
.bees," "the roof-tiles," and "the bricks." * These men were 
noticeable for their thick hair and fine apparel. Their left 
haijds were bare and without rings, and they played thin 
"claques" vigorously whenever Nero sang. Us leaders of 
these bands were paid four hundred thousand sesterces each. 2 
Considering it of great importance to appear in Rome as 
well, he repeated the contest of the Neronia before the ap- 
pointed time, and when there was a general call for his "divine 
voice," he replied that if any wished to hear him, he would 
favor them in the gardens. But when the guard of the sol- 
diers which was then on duty seconded the entreaties of the 
people, he gladly agreed to appear at once. So without delay 
he had his name added to the list of the lyre-players who en- 
tered the contest, and casting his own lot into the urn with 
the rest, he came forward in his turn, attended by the Pre- 
fects of the Guard carrying his lyre, and followed by the 
Tribunes of the soldiers and his intimate friends. Having 
taken his place and finished his preliminary speech, he an- 
nounced through the ex-consul Cluvius Rufus that "he would 
sing Niobe." And he kept at it until late in the afternoon, 
putting off the award of the prize for that event and post- 
poning the rest of the contest to the next year, to have an 
-excuse for singing oftener. But since even that seemed too 
long to wait, he did not cease to appear in public from time 
to time. He even thought of taking part in private perform- 
ances among the professional actors, and a Praetor offered 
a million sesterces 8 for his services. He also put on the mask 
and sang tragedies representing Gods and heroes and even 
heroines and Goddesses, having the masks fashioned in the 
likeness of his own features or those of the women of whom 
he chanced to be enamored. Among other themes he sang 

i The first seems to have derived its name from the sound, which was 
like the humming of bees, the second and third from clapping the hands, 
&dd rounded or hollowed like roof-tiles, or held fiat like bricks. 

* $16400.0(0 

* $41,000.00 


"Canace in Labor," 1 "Orestes the Matricide/ 1 "The Blind- 
ing of Oedipus" and the "Frenzy of Hercules." At the last 
named performance they say that a young recruit, posted at 
the entrance of the stage, seeing him in rags and bound with 
chains, as the argument of the play required, rushed for- 
ward to lend him aid. 

From his earliest years he had a special passion for horses 
and talked constantly about the games in the Circus, though 
he was forbidden to do so. Once when he was lamenting with 
his fellow pupils the fate of a charioteer of the "Greens," who 
was dragged by his horses, and his preceptor scolded him, he 
told a lie and pretended that he was talking of Hector. At 
the beginning of his reign he used to play every day with 
ivory chariots on a board, and he came from the country to 
all the games, even the most insignificant, at first secretly, 
and then so openly that no one doubted that he would be in 
Rome on that particular day. He made no secret of his wish 
to have the number of prizes increased, and in consequence 
more races were added and the performance was continued 
to a late hour, while the managers of the troupes no longer 
thought it worth while to produce their drivers at all except 
for a full day's racing. He soon longed to drive a chariot 
himself and even to show himself frequently in public. So 
after a trial exhibition in his gardens before his slaves and 
the dregs of the populace, he gave all an opportunity of 
seeing him in the Circus Maximus, one of his f reedmen drop- 
ping the napkin * from the place usually occupied by the 

Not content with showing his proficiency in these arts at 
Rome > he went to Achaia, as I have said, influenced especially 
by the following consideration. The cities in which it was 
the custom to hold contests in music had adopted the rule of 
sending all the lyric prizes to him. These he received with 
the greatest delight, not only giving audience before all others 

1 Canace, daughter of an Etrurian King, whose incestuous intercourse 
with her brother was detected in consequence of the cries of an infant 
she had delivered. Whereupon she killed herself with a sword her father 
had sent her for the purpose. It was a joke in Rome that when Nero 
was performing this piece "he was laboring in child-birth." 

* The signal for the start. 

NERO ass 

>- the envoys who brought them, but even inviting them to 
is private table. When some of them begged him to sing 
tiring dinner and greeted his performance with extravagant 
Dplause, he declared that '"the Greeks were the only ones 
ho had an ear for music and that they alone were worthy of 
Is efforts." So he took ship without delay and immediately 
a arriving at Cassiope x made a preliminary appearance as 
singer at the altar of Jupiter Cassius, and then went the 
)und of all the contests. 

To make this possible, he gave orders that even those which 
ame in different years should be brought in the compass of 
ne, so that some had even to be given twice. At Olympia, like- 
ise, he introduced a musical competition, contrary to custom, 
'o avoid being distracted or hindered in any way while busy 
rith these contests, he replied to his freedman Helius, whc 
eminded him that the affairs of the city required his pra- 
nce, in these words: "However much it may be your advice 
nd your wish that I should return speedily, yet you ought 
ather to counsel me and to hope that I may return worthy of 

While he was singing no one was allowed to leave the the- 
,ter even for the most urgent reasons. And so it is said that 
ome women gave birth to children there, while many who 
?ere worn out with listening and applauding, secretly leaped 
rom the side of the theater, since the gates at the entrance 
vere closed, or feigned death and were carried out as if for 
mrial. The trepidation and anxiety with which he took part 
n the contests, his keen rivalry of his opponents and his 
iwe of the judges, can hardly be credited. As if his rivals 
vere of quite the same station as himself, he used to show 
espect to them and try to gain their favor, while he slan- 
iered them behind their backs, sometimes assailed them with 
ibuse when he met them, and even bribed those who were 
especially proficient. 

Before beginning, he would address the judges in the most 
leferential terms, saying that he had done all that could be 
lone, but the issue was in the hands of Fortune, though 
they, being men of wisdom and experience, ought to exclude 

1 Now Corfu. 


from their judgment what was merely accidental, When they 
bade him take heart, he withdrew with greater confidence, 
but not even then without anxtety, interpreting the silence 
and modesty of some as sullenhess and ill -nature, and de- 
claring that lie had his suspicions of them. 

In competition he observed the rules most scrupulously, 
never daring to clear his throat and even wiping the sweat 
from hfe brow with his arm. 1 Once indeed, during the per- 
formance of a tragedy, when he had dropped his scepter but 
quickly recovered it, he was terribly afraid that he might be 
excluded from the competition because of his slip, and his 
confidence was restored only when his accompanist swore 
that it had passed unnoticed amid the delight and applause 
of the people. When the victory was won, he made the an- 
nouncement himself. It was for that reason he always took 
part in the Contests of the heralds. 2 To obliterate the memory 
of all other victors in these sacred contests and kave no trace 
of them, their statues and busts were all thrown down by 
his order, dragged off with hooks, and cast into privies. 

He also drove a chariot in many places, at Olympia even 
a ten-horse team, although in one of his own poems he had 
criticized Mithridates for just that thing. But after he had 
been thrown from the car and put back in it, he was unable 
to hold out and gave up before the end of the course. But 
he received the crown just the same. On his departure he pre- 
sented the entire province with freedom and at the same time 
gave the judges Roman citizenship and a large sum of money. 
These favors he announced in person on the day of the Isth- 
mian Games, standing in the middle of the stadium. 

On his Way back from Greece, he entered Naples through 
& breach made in the city wall, as is customary with victors 
to the sacred games, since it was at that city he had made 
his dbiit as an artist. In like manner he entered Antium, 
then Albanum, and finally Rome. But at Rome he rode in 
the chariot which Augustus had used in his triumphs in days 
gone by, and wore a purple robe and a Greek cloak adorned 
with stats of gold, bearing on his head the Olympic crown 

* Hie rules forbade the use of a handkerchief. 

* Heralds for the great festivals were selected by competition. 


and holding the Pythian crown in his right hand, v.hile the 
rest were carried before him with inscriptions telling where 
he had won them and against what competitors, and giving 
the titles of the songs or the subject of the plays. His chariot 
was followed by his claque as by the escort of a triumphal 
procession, who shouted that they were the attendants of 
Augustus and the soldiers of his triumph. Having had the 
arch of the Circus Maximus taken down, he made his way 
through it across the Velabrum and the Forum to the Pala- 
tine and the temple of Apollo. All along the route victims 
were slain, the streets were sprinkled from time to time with 
perfume, while birds., ribbons, and sweetmeats were showered 
upon him. He placed the sacred crowns in his bed-chambers 
around his couches, as well as statues representing him in 
the guise of a lyre-player, which was the device he had 
stamped on a coin. So far from neglecting or relaxing his 
practice of the art after this, he never addressed the soldiers 
except by letter or in a speech delivered by another, to save 
his voice. He never did anything for amusement or in earnest 
without a teacher of voice at his side to warn him to spare 
his vocal organs and hold a handkerchief to his mouth. To 
many men he offered his friendship or announced his hostility, 
according as they had applauded him lavishly or grudgingly. 
Although at first his acts of wantonness, lust, extravagance, 
avarice and cruelty were gradual and secret, and might be 
condoned as follies of youth, yet even then their nature was 
such that no one doubted that they were defects of his char- 
acter and not due to his time of life. No sooner was twilight 
over than he would slip on the disguise of a cap or a wig and 
go to the taverns or range about the streets playing pranks, 
which however were very far from harmless. For he used to 
beat men as they came home from dinner, stabbing any who 
resisted him and throwing them into the sewers. He would 
even break into shops and rob them, setting up a market in 
the Palace, where he divided the booty which he took, sold it 
at auction, and then squandered the proceeds. In the scuffles 
which took place on such occasions he often ran the risk of, 
losing his eyes or even his life, for he was beaten almost to 
death by a man of the senatorial order whose wife he had 
handled indecently. Warned by this, he never afterward* 


ventured to appear in public at that hour without having 
Tribunes follow him at a distance and unobserved. Even in 
the daytime he would be carried privately to the theater in 
a sedan, where he would take a place in the upper part of the 
proscenium from which he not only witnessed the brawls of 
the pantomimic actors but also egged them on. When they 
came to blows and stones and pieces of broken benches be- 
gan to fly about he himself threw many missiles at the people 
and even broke a Praetor's head. 

Little by little, however, as his vices grew stronger, he 
dropped jesting and secrecy and with no attempt at disguise 
openly broke out into worse crime. 

He prolonged his revels from midday to midnight, often 
livening himself by a warm plunge, or, if it were summer, 
into water cooled with snow. Sometimes too he closed the in- 
lets of the Naumachia 1 and banqueted there in public, or in 
the Campus Martius, or in the Circus Maximus, waited on 
by harlots and dancing girls from all over the city. Whenever 
he drifted down the Tiber to Ostia, or sailed about the Gulf 
of Baiae, booths were set up at intervals along the banks 
and shores, fitted out as brothels and eating-houses, before 
which were matrons who played the part of bawds and host- 
esses, soliciting him from every side to come ashore. He also 
coerced his friends to give him banquets, one of whom spent 
four million sesterces 2 on a dinner at which turbans were 
the favor, and another a considerably larger sum on one at 
which roses were distributed. 

Besides abusing freeborn boys and seducing married wo- 
men, he debauched the Vestal Virgin Rubria. The freed- 
woman Acte he all but made his lawful wife, after bribing 
some ex-consuls to perjure themselves by swearing that she 
was of royal birth. He castrated the boy Sporus and actually 
tried to make a woman of him. He married him with all the 
usual ceremonies, including a dowry and a bridal veil, took 
him to his house attended by a great throng, and treated him 
as his wife. And the witty jest that some one made is still 
current, that it would have been well for the world if Nero's 

1 The great basin made for sea-fights. 
* $164,00000. 

NERO 25* 

father Domitius had had that kind of wife. This Sporus, 
decked out with the finery of the Empresses and riding in a 
litter, he took with him to the assizes and marts of Greece, 
and later at Rome through the Street of the Images, fondly 
kissing him from time to time. That he even desired illicit 
relations with his own mother, 1 and was kept from it by her 
enemies, who feared that such a relationship might give the 
reckless and insolent woman too great influence, was notori- 
ous, especially after he added to his concubines a courtesan 
who was said to look very like Agrippina. Even before that, 
so they say, whenever he r6de in a litter with his mother, he 
had incestuous relations with her, which were betrayed by 
the stains on his clothing. 

He so prostituted his own chastity that after defiling al- 
most every part of his body, he at last devised a kind of 
game, in which, covered with the skin of some wild animal, 
he was let loose from a cage and attacked the private parts 
of men and women, who were bound to stakes, and when he 
had sated his mad lust, was dispatched by his freedman 
Doryphorus. For he was even married to this man in the same 
Way that he himself had married Sporus, going so far as to 
imitate the cries and lamentations of a maiden being de- 
flowered. I have heard from some men that it was his un- 
shaken conviction that no man was chaste or pure in any 
part of his body, but that most of them concealed their vices 
and cleverly drew a veil over them; and that therefore he 
pardoned all other faults in those who confessed to him their 

He thought that there was no other way of enjoying riches 
and money than by riotous extravagance, declaring that only 
stingy and niggardly fellows kept a correct account of what 
they spent, while fine and genuinely magnificent gentlemen 
wasted and squandered. Nothing in his uncle Gaius so ex- 
cited his envy and admiration as the fact that he had in so 
short a time run through the vast wealth which Tiberius 
had left him. Accordingly he made presents and wasted 

1 It is said the advances were made by Agrippina, with flagrant 
indecency, to secure her power over him. See Tacitus Annals XIV, a. 


money without stint. On Tiridates, 1 though it would seem 
hardly within belief, he spent eight hundred thousand ses- 
terces * a day, and on his departure presented him with more 
than a hundred millions. 8 He gave the lyre-player Mene- 
crates and the gladiator Spiculus properties and residences 
equal to those of men who had celebrated triumphs. He en- 
riched the monkey-faced usurer Paneros with estates in the 
country and in the city and had him buried with almost regal 
splendor. He never wore the same garment twice. He played 
at dice for four hundred thousand sesterces a point. 4 He 
fished with a golden net drawn by cords woven of purple 
and scarlet threads. It is said that he never made a journey 
with less than a thousand carriages, his mules shod with silver 
and their drivers clad in wool of Canusium, attended by a 
train of Mazaces 9 and couriers with bracelets and trappings. 
There was nothing however in which he was more ruinously 
prodigal than in building. He made a palace extending all 
the way from the Palatine to the Esquiline, which at first he 
called the House of Passage, but when it was burned shortly 
after its completion and rebuilt, the Golden House. Its size 
and splendor will be sufficiently indicated by the following 
details. Its vestibule was high enough to contain a colossal 
statue of the Emperor a hundred and twenty feet high. So 
large was this house that it had a triple colonnade a mile 
long. There was a lake in it too, like a sea, surrounded with 
buildings to represent cities, besides tracts of country, 
varied by tilled fields, vineyards, pastures and woods, with 
great numbers of wild and domestic animals. In the rest of 
the house all parts were overlaid with gold and adorned with 
jewels and mother-of-pearl. There were dining-rooms with 
fretted ceilings of ivory, whose panels could turn and shower 
down flowers and were fitted with pipes for sprinkling the 
guests with perfumes. The main banquet hall was circular 
and constantly revolved day and night, like the heavens. 
He had baths supplied with sea water and sulphur water. 

1 The same whom Nero exhibited to the people as told earlier. 

- 2 $32,800.00. 

* $4,100,000.00. 
, 4 $16400.00. 
8 Celebrated horsemen from Mauretania (North Africa). 

: , NERO ; *6t 

When the edifice was finished in this style and he dedicated 
it, he deigned to say nothing pore in the way of approval 
than that he was at last beginning to be housed like a human 

He also began a pool, extending from Misenum to the 
lake of Avernus, roofed over and enclosed in colonnades, 
into which he planned to turn all the hot springs in every 
part of Baiae. He likewise projected a canal to extend from 
Avernus all the way to Ostia, to enable the journey to be 
made by ship yet not by sea: its length was to be a hundred 
and sixty miles and its breadth sufficient to allow ships with 
five banks of oars to pass each other. For the execution of 
these projects he had given orders that the prisoners all over 
the empire should be transported to Italy, and that those 
who were convicted even of capital crimes should be pun- 
ished in no other way than by sentence to this work. 

He was led to such mad extravagance, in addition to his 
confidence in the resources of the empire, by the hope of a 
vast hidden treasure, suddenly inspired by the assurance of 
a Roman Knight, who declared positively that the enormous 
wealth which Queen Dido had taken with her of old in her 
flight from Tyre was hidden away in huge caves in Africa 
and could be recovered with but trifling labor. 

When this hope proved false, he resorted to false accusa- 
tions and robbery, being at the end of his resources and so 
utterly -Impoverished that he was obliged to postpone and 
defer even the pay of the soldiers and the rewards due to the 

First of all he made a law, that instead of one-half, five* 
sixths of the property of deceased freedmen should be made 
over to him, if without good and sufficient reason they tore 
t&e ilatne of any famfly with which he himself was connected. 
Furt&er, ttot th States of those who were ungrateful to 
their JEmpfcror * should belong to the privy pttrse, and that 
the lawyers who had written or dictated such wills should 
a$ ..go *mpunist)ed. Finally, that any word or deed on wKob 
am informer could base ian action should come under .the law 

tiial fs, s wfeo Bad feft'Kim nofhlnfc in their wffl*, of urittfc lie 
considered less ths^Tubl^QiM^^ 


against treason. He demanded the return of the rewards 
which he had given in recognition of the prizes conferred on 
him by any city in any competition. Having forbidden the 
use of amethystine or Tyrian purple dyes, he secretly sent a 
man to sell a few ounces on a market day and then dosed 
the shops of all the dealers. 1 It is even said that when he saw 
a matron in the audience at one of his recitals clad in the 
forbidden color he pointed her out to his agents, who dragged 
her out and stripped her on the spot, not only of her gar* 
ment, but also of her property. He never appointed any one 
to an office without adding: "You know what my needs 
are," and "Let us see to it that no one possess anything." At 
last he stripped many temples of their gifts and melted 
down the images of gold and silver, including those of the 
guardian Gods of Rome 2 which, however, Galba soon after- 
wards restored. 

He began his career of parricide and murder with Claudius, 
for even if he was not the instigator of the Emperor's death, 
he was at least privy to it, as he openly admitted. For he 
used afterwards to laud mushrooms, the vehicle in which 
the poison was administered to Claudius, as "the food of 
the Gods," as the Greek proverb has it. At any rate, after 
Claudius' death he vented on him every kind of insult, in 
act and word, 8 charging him now with folly and now with 
cruelty. For it was a favorite joke of his to say that Claudius 
had ceased "to play the fool" among mortals, lengthening 
the first syllable of the word morari* And he disregarded 
many of his decrees and acts as the work of a madman and 
a dotard. Finally, he neglected to enclose the place where his 
body was burned except with a low and mean wall. 

He attempted the life of Britannicus by poison, not less 
from jealousy of his voice (for it was more agreeable than 
his own) than from fear that he might sometime win a higher 
place than himself in the people's regard because of the 

1 As an excuse to confiscate their property. 

* Called Penates. They were Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Minerva, Neptune. 

4 Suetonius says that Nero began by honoring the memory of 

4 By whkh pronunciation he changed the sense of the phrase from 
"linger among mortals" to "play the fool among mortals." 

NERO 263 

memory of his father. He procured the potion from an arch- 
poisoner, one Locusta, and when the effect was slower than 
he anticipated, merely physicking Britannicus, he called the 
woman to him and flogged her with his own hand, charging 
that she had administered a medicine instead of a poison. 
When she said in excuse that she had given a smaller dose 
to shield him from the odium of the crime, he replied: "It's 
likely that I am afraid of the Julian law." So he forced her 
to mix as swift and instant a potion as she knew how in hit 
own room before his very eyes. Then he tried it on a kid, and 
as the animal lingered for five hours, had the mixture steeped 
again and again and threw some of it before a pig. The beast 
instantly fell dead, whereupon he ordered that the poison 
be taken to the dining-room and given to Britannicus. The 
boy dropped dead at the very first taste, but Nero lied to his 
guests and declared that he was seized with the falling sick- 
ness, to which he was subject, and the next day had him 
hastily and unceremoniously buried in a pouring rain. He 
rewarded Locusta for her eminent services with a full par- 
don and large estates in the country, and actually sent heh 

His mother offended him by too strict surveillance and 
criticism of his words and acts, but at first he confined his 
resentment to frequent endeavors to bring upon her a burden 
of unpopularity by pretending that he would abdicate the 
throne and go off to Rhodes. Then depriving her of all her 
honors and of her guard of Roman and German soldiers, he 
even forbade her to live with him and drove her from the 
Palace. After that he passed all bounds in harrying her, 
bribing men to annoy her with lawsuits while she remained 
in the city, and after she had retired to the country, to pass 
her house by land and sea and break her rest with abuse and 
mockery. At last terrified by her violence and threats, he de* 
termined to have her life, and after thrice attempting it by 
poison and finding that she had made herself immune by 
antidotes, he tampered with the ceiling of her bedroom, con- 
triving a mechanical device for loosening its panels and drop- 
ping them upon her while she slept. When this leaked out 
through some of those connected with the plot, he devised 


m* collapsible boat * to destroy her by $Mwreek tr by the 
felling in 'of its cabiti. Then he pretended a t ^conciliation 
nnd invited her hi a tabst Cordial letter to come to Baiae 
ftfcd celebrate the fea$r : 6f Minerva with him. r <0fc her ar- 
rival, instructing his captains to wteck th gatley in which 
she had come, by running into it as if by accideht, he de- 
tained her at a banquet, and when she wotrid returh to Baiflf, 
Offered her his contrivance in place of the craft which had 
been damaged, escorting her to it in high spirits and even 
kissing her breasts ks they parted. The rest of the night he 
passed sleepless in intense anxiety, awaitiftc the outcome of 
hfe desigti. On learning that everything had gone wrong and 
that she had escaped by swimming, driven to desperation he 
secretly had a dagger thrown down beside her freedman 
Lucius Agermus, when he joyf ully brought word that she was 
safe and sound. He then ordered that the freedman be seized 
and bound, on the charge of having been hired by her to kill 
the Emperor, and that his mother be put to death, giving 
out that she had committed suicide to escape the conse- 
quences of her detected guilt. Trustworthy authorities add 
still more gruesome details: that he hurried off to view the 
corpse, handled her limbs, criticizing some and commending 
others, 2 and that becoming thirsty meanwhile, he took a 
drink. Yet he could not either then or ever afterwards endure 
the stings of conscience, though soldiers, Senate and people 
tried to hearten him with their congratulations. For he often 
owned that he was hounded by his mother's ghost and by 
the whips and blazing torches of the Furies. He even had 
rites performed by the Magi, in the effort to summon her 
shade and entreat it for forgiveness. Moreover, in his jour- 
ney through Greece he did not venture to take part in the 
Eleusinian mysteries, since at the beginning the godless and 
wicked are warned by the herald's proclamation to go henci^ 
To matricide he added the murder of his aunt. When he 
once visited her as she was confined to her bed from costive* 
ness, and she, as old ladies will, stroking his downy beard 
(for he was already well grown) happened to say fondly: 

* Invented by Ms fo&pdnuui Anicetus* 

Tacitus in Annals XIV, 9, &ya that some d:nied this. 

NERO 165 

"As soon as I receive this, 1 1 shall gladly die," he turned to 
those with him and said as if in jest: 'Til take it off at 
once," Then he bade the doctors give the sick woman ah over- 
dose of physic and seized her property before she was cold, 
suppressing her will, that nothing might escape him. 

Besides Octavia 2 he later took two wives, Poppaea Sabina, 
daughter of an ex-quaestor and previously married to a 
Roman Knight, and then Statilia Messalina, daughter of the 
great-granddaughter of Taurus, who had been twice Consul 
and awarded a Triumph. To possess the latter he slew her 
husband Atticus Vestinus while he held the office of Consul. 
He soon grew tired of living with Octavia, and when his 
friends took him to task, replied that "she ought to be con- 
tent with the insignia of wifehood." Presently after several 
vain attempts to strangle her, he divorced her on the ground 
of barrenness, and when the people took it ill and openly re- 
proached him, he banished her besides. Finally he had her 
put to death on a charge of adultery that was so shameless 
and unfounded, that when all who were put to the torture- 
maintained her innocence, he bribed his former preceptor 
Anicetus to make a pretended confession that he had tricked 
her out of her chastity. He clearly loved Poppaea, whom he 
married twelve days after his divorce from Octavia, yet he 
caused her death too by kicking her when she was pregnant 
and ill, because she had scolded him for coming home late 
from the races. By her he had a daughter, Claudia Augusta, 
but lost her when she was still an infant. 

Indeed there is no kind of relationship that he did not vio- 
late in his career of crime. He put to death Antonia, daughter 
of Claudius, for refusing to marry him after Poppaea's 
death, charging her with an attempt at revolution. And he 
treated in the same way all others who were in any way con* 
nected with him by blood or by marriage. Among these was 
the young Aulus Plautius, whom he forcibly defiled before his^ 
death, saying "Let my mother come now and kiss my suc- 
cessor," openly charging that Agrippina had loved Plautius 
and that this had roused him to hopes of the throne. Rufrius 

1 That is, "as soon is I see you a man." What Nero did with the to;*' 
hali? irbm hfo chin -Suetonius has 'already told. 
- a Hatigbtft of daiftdifls fry MftftHTii 


Crispinus, a mere boy, his stepson and the child of Poppaea, 
he ordered to be drowned by the child's own slaves while he 
was fishing, because it was said that he used to play at being 
a general and an emperor. He banished his nurse's son 
Tuscus, because when Procurator in Egypt, he had bathed 
in some baths which were built for a visit of Nero's. He 
drove his tutor Seneca to suicide, although when the old man 
often pleaded to be allowed to retire and offered to give up 
k his estates, he had sworn most solemnly that he did wrong 
to suspect him and that he would rather die than harm him. 
He sent poison to Burrus, Prefect of the Guard, in place of 
a throat medicine which he had promised him. The old and 
wealthy freedmen who had helped him first to his adoption 
and later to the throne, and aided him by their advice, he 
killed by poison, administered partly in their food and partly 
in their drink. 

Those outside his family he assailed with no less cruelty. 
It chanced that a comet had begun to appear on several suc- 
cessive nights, a thing which is commonly believed to por- 
tend the death of great rulers. Worried by this, and learning 
from the astrologer Balbillus that Kings usually averted 
such omens by the sacrifice of some illustrious person, thus 
bringing the danger foreboded to their own persons onto the 
heads of their chief men, he resolved on the death of all the 
eminent men of the State. Indeed, all the more firmly, and 
with some semblance of justice, after the discovery of two 
conspiracies. The earlier and more dangerous of these was 
that of Piso at Rome; the other was set on foot by Vinicius 
at Beneventum and detected there. The conspirators made 
their defense in triple sets of fetters, some voluntarily ad- 
mitting their guilt, some even maintaining they were trying 
to do him a favor, saying that there was no way except by 
death that they could help a man disgraced by every kind 
of wickedness. The children of those who were condemned 
were banished or put to death by poison or starvation. A 
number are known to have been slain all together at a single 
meal along with their preceptors and attendants, while others 
were prevented from earning their daily bread. 

After this he showed neither discrimination nor modera- 
tion in putting to death whomsoever he pleased on any pre- 

NERO 267 

text whatever. To mention but a few instances: Salvidienus 
Orfitus was charged with having rented three shops which 
formed part of his house near the Forum to certain states 
as their headquarters in Rome; Cassius Longinus, a blind 
jurist, with retaining in the old family tree of his house the 
mask of Gaius Cassius, the assassin of Julius Caesar; Paetus 
Thrasea with having a sullen mien, like that of a preceptor. 
To those who were bidden to die he never granted more than 
an hour's respite, and to avoid any delay, he brought phy- 
sicians who were at once to "attend to" such as lingered, for 
that was the term he used for killing them by opening their 
veins. It is even believed that it was his wish to throw living 
men to be torn to pieces and devoured by a monster of Egyp- 
tian birth, who would gnaw raw flesh and anything else thar 
was given him. Transported and puffed up with such suc- 
cesses, as he considered them, he boasted that no prince had 
ever known what power he really had, and he often threw 
out unmistakable hints that he would not spare even those 
of the Senate who survived, but would one day blot out the 
whole order from the State and hand over the rule of the 
provinces and the command of the armies to the Roman 
Knights and to his freedmen. Certain it is that neither on be- 
ginning a journey nor on returning did he ever kiss any mem- 
ber of it, or even return his greeting. And at the formal 
opening of the work at the Isthmus the prayer which he ut- 
tered in a loud voice before a great throng was, that the 
event might result favorably "for himself and the people of 
Rome," thus suppressing any mention of the Senate. 

But he showed no greater mercy to the people or the walls 
of his capital. When some one in a general conversation said: 

"When I am dead, be earth consumed by fire/' 1 

He rejoined "Nay, rather while I live," and his action was 
wholly in accord. For under cover of displeasure at the ugli- 
ness of the old buildings and the narrow, crooked streets, 
he set fire to the city 2 so openly that several ex-consuls did 

* But see Tacitus (Annals, XV, 38) , whose report of this event, as also 
Dio's (LXII, 18), differs from Suetonius'. 

2 A line believed to be from BeUerophon, a lost play of Euripides. Dio, 
LVHI, 33, reports Tiberius as quoting it. 


not venture to lay hands on his household servants although 
they caught them on their estates with tow and firebrands, 
while some granaries near the Golden House, on a plot oi 
ground he particularly desired, were demolished by engines 
of war and then set on fire, because their walls were of stone. 
For six days and seven nights destruction raged, while the 
people were driven for shelter to monuments and tombs. 
At that time, besides an immense number of apartment 
houses, the private houses of leaders of old were burned, still 
adorned with trophies of victory, and the temples of the 
Gods vowed and dedicated by the Kings and later in the 
Punic and Gallic wars, and whatever else interesting and 
noteworthy had survived from antiquity. Viewing the con- 
flagration from the tower of Maecenas and exulting, as he 
said, in "the beauty of the flames," he sang the whole of the 
"Sack of Troy," x dressed up in his regular stage costume. 
Furthermore, to gain from this calamity too all the spoil and 
Dooty possible, while promising the removal of the debris 
and dead bodies free of cost he allowed no one to approach 
the ruins of his own property. And from the contributions 
which he not only received, but even demanded, he nearly 
bankrupted the provinces and exhausted the resources of 

To all the disasters and abuses thus caused by the prince 
there were added certain accidents of fortune: a plague 
which in a single autumn entered thirty thousand deaths in 
the registers of Venus Libitina; a disaster in Britain, where 
two important towns were sacked and great numbers of citi- 
zens and allies were butchered; a shameful defeat in the 
Orient, in consequence of which the legions in Armenia were 
sent under the yoke and Syria was all but lost. It is surprising 
and of special note that all this time he bore nothing with 
mare patience than the curses and abuse of the people, and 
was particularly lenient towards those who assailed him with 
gibes and lampoons. Of these many were posted or circulated 
both in Greek and Latin, for example the following: 

"Orestes and Alcmeon, both, their mothers slew. 
What Nero does i$ therefore nothing new." 

* In whose temple funeral outfits and a register of deaths were kept 


''Spriro&.frQm AeaSas, pfous, wise, .and great, 
Who says dur Nero is degenerate? 
Safe through the 3ame3 one borekis sire. The other, 
To save himself, took off his loving mother." 

"While Nero sweetly struck his lyre 

Apollo strung his bow. . 
Our prince is now the God of fire 
The other God, our foe." 

"All Rome's become one house. To Veii fly, 
Unless it stretch to Veii, bye and bye." x 

But he made no effort to find the authors, and when some 
of them were reported to the Senate by an informer, he for- 
bade their being very severely punished. As he was passing 
along a public street, the Cynic Isidorus loudly taunted him, 
"because he was a good singer of the ills of Nauplius, but 
made ill use of his own goods." Datus also, an actor of Atellan 
farces, in a song beginning: 

"Good-by, papa, good-by, mamma," 

represented drinking and swimming in pantomime, referring 
of course to the death of Claudius and Agrippina; and in the 
final tag, 

"Now Orcus guides your steps," 

be indicated the Senate by a gesture. 2 Nero contented him- 
self with banishing the actor arid the philosopher from the 
city, either because he was impervious to all insults, or to 
avoid sharpening men's wits by showing his vexation. 

After the world had put up with such a ruler for nearly 
fourteen years, it at last cast him off, and the Gauls took the 
first step under th$ lead of Julius VUujtax, who at that time 
governed thw; province as Erqpraetpr, , 

tlfny remkiWtn^t the "Golden Hottee'* of $fod was swallowing tip 
Itotoe < Te& was ofee of the most artdcnt Etriiscan cities, long a power- 
ful rival of Rome, and but twelve miles north. The Romans alrao*t 
abandoned their own <dty alter its sack by th Gauls in 300 *& and re* 
moved there. Hardly a vestige of it remains'. 

? ABtiding to NeroVpto to^end^all the Senators to the Underwork 
whtire Orcus, or Pluto, would lead them. 


Astrologers had predicted to Nero that he would one day 
be repudiated, which was the occasion of that well-known 
saying of his: "A humble art affords us daily bread/ 11 
doubtless uttered to justify him in practicing the art of lyre- 
playing, as an amusement while Emperor, but a necessity for 
a private citizen. Some of them, however, had promised him 
the rule of the East, when he was cast off, a few expressly 
naming the sovereignty of Jerusalem, and several of the 
restitution of all his former fortunes. Inclining rather to this 
last hope, after losing Armenia and Britain and recovering 
both, he began to think that he had suffered the misfortunes 
which fate had in store. And after consulting the oracle at 
Delphi and being told that he must look out for the seventy- 
third year, assuming that he would die only at that period, 
and taking no account of Galba's years, he felt so confident 
not only of old age, but also of unbroken and unusual good 
fortune, that when he had lost some articles of great value by 
shipwreck, he did not hesitate to say among his intimate 
friends that the fish would bring them back to him. 

He was at Naples when he learned of the uprising of the 
Gallic provinces, on the anniversary of his mother's murder, 
and received the news with such calmness and indifference 
that he incurred the suspicion of actually rejoicing in it, be- 
cause it gave him an excuse for pillaging those wealthy prov- 
inces according to the laws of war. And he at once proceeded 
to the gymnasium, where he watched the contests of the 
athletes with rapt interest. At dinner too when interrupted 
by a more disturbing letter, he fired up only so far as to 
threaten vengeance on the rebels. In short for eight whole 
days he made no attempt to write a reply to any one and 
gave no commission or command, but blotted out the affair 
with silence. 

At last he was driven by numerous insulting edicts of 
Vindex, to urge the Senate in a letter to avenge him and th 
state, alleging a throat trouble as his excuse for not appear 
ing in person. Yet there was nothing which he so much re- 

i Dio (LXUI, 27) writes that Nero when planning to kill the Sena- 
tors, burn Rome, and sail to Alexandria, said: "Even though we be 
dtiven from our empire, yet this little artistic gift of ours will support 
us there." 

NERO *7 

seated as the taunt that he was a wretched lyre-player and 
that he was addressed as Ahenobarbus instead of Nero. 1 
With regard to his family name, which was cast in his teeth 
as an insult, he declared that he would resume it and give up 
that of his adoption. He used no other arguments to show the 
falsity of the rest of the reproaches than that he was actually 
taunted with being unskilled in an art to which he had de- 
voted so much attention and in which he had so perfected 
himself, and he asked various individuals from time to time 
whether they knew of any artist who was his superior. 

Finally, beset by message after message, he returned to 
Rome in a panic. But on the way, when but slightly encour- 
aged by an insignificant omen, for he noticed a monument on 
which was sculptured the overthrow of a Gallic soldier by a 
Roman horseman, who was dragging him along by the hair, 
he leaped for joy at the sight and lifted up his hands to 
heaven. But not even then did he personally address the 
Senate or the people, but only called some of the leading men 
to his house and after a hasty consultation spent the rest of 
the day in exhibiting some water-organs 2 of a new and hith- 
erto unknown form, explaining their several features and 
lecturing on the theory and complexity of each of them and 
he even declared that he would presently produce them all in 
the theater "with the kind permission of Vindex." 

Thereafter, having learned that Galba also and the Span- 
ish provinces had revolted, he fainted and lay for a long 
time insensible, without a word and all but dead. When he 
came to himself, he rent his robe and beat his brow, declar- 
ing that it was all over with him. And when his old nurse tried 
to comfort him by reminding him that similar evils had be- 
fallen other princes before him, he declared that unlike all 
others he was suffering the unheard of and unparalleled fate 
of losing the supreme power while he still lived. Nevertheless 
he did not abandon or amend his slothful and luxurious 

1 Lucius Domitius Ahenofcsrbus was Nero's original name, being the 
son of Cn, Domitris AHwiobarbus and Agrippina, one of Gerxnanicus' 
daughter*, But after Agrippina married her uncle, the Emperor Clau- 
dius* the>stepson/s name was changed to Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus 
Gerttianicus. ' '* 

* The prototype of our pipe-organs. Water was the inflating power 
Vitruvius CIV, IX) attributes ita.inVention toCtesibusbf Alexandria. 


habits. On the contrary, whenever any good news came from 
the provinces, he not only gave lavish feasts, but even ridi- 
culed the leaders of the revolt in verses set to wanton music, 
which have since become public, and accompanied them with 
gestures. In the theater, where he had been secretly carried 
as usual, he sent word to an actor who was making a hit that 
he was taking advantage of the Emperor's busy days. 

At the very beginning of the revolt it is believed that he 
formed many plans of monstrous wickedness, but in no way 
i iconsistent with his character: to depose and assassinate the 
commanders of the armies and the governors of the provinces, 
on the ground that they were all united in a conspiracy against 
him; to massacre all the exiles everywhere and all men of 
Gallic birth in the city: the former, to prevent them from 
joining the rebels; the latter, as sharing and abetting the 
designs of their countrymen; to turn over the Gallic provinces 
to his armies to ravage; to poison the entire Senate at ban- 
quets; to set fire to the city, first letting the wild beasts loose, 
that it might be harder for the people to protect hemselves. 
But he was deterred from these designs, not so much by any 
compunction, as because he despaired of being able to carry 
them out, and feeling obliged to take the field, he deposed 
the Consuls before the end of their term and assumed the 
office alone in place of both of them, alleging that it was fated 
that the Gallic provinces could not be subdued except by a 
Consul. Having assumed the fasces, 1 he declared as he was 
leaving the dining-room after a banquet, leaning on the 
shoulders of his comrades, that immediately on setting foot 
in the province he would go before the soldiers unarmed 
and do nothing but weep; and having thus led the rebels to 
change their purpose, he would next day rejoice among his 
rejoicing subjects and sing paeans of victory, which he ought 
at that very moment to be composing. 

In preparing for his campaign his first care was to select 
wagons to carry his theatrical instruments, to have the hair 
of his concubines, whom he planned to take with him, 
trimmed man-fashion, and to equip them with Amazonian 
axes and shields. Next he summoned the city tribes to enlist, 

* The symbol of consular authority. 

NERO 27;< 

and when no eligible person responded, he ordered all masten 
to send a certain number of slaves, accepting only the choio 
est from each household and not even exempting paymasters 
and secretaries. He also required all classes to contribute a 
part of their incomes, and all tenants of private houses and 
apartments to pay a year's rent at once to the privy purse. 
With great fastidiousness and strictness he demanded newly 
minted coin, refined silver, and pure gold, so that many 
openly refused to make any contribution at all, unanimously 
demanding that he should rather compel the informers to 
give up whatever rewards had been paid them. 

The bitter feeling against him was increased because he 
also turned the high cost of grain to his profit. For, as it 
happened just at that time of famine, a ship was reported 
arrived from Alexandria but freighted with sand for the 
court wrestlers. 

When he had thus aroused the hatred of all, there was no 
form of insult to which he was not subjected. A lock of hair 
was placed on the head of his statue with the inscription in 
Greek: "Now there is a real contest and you must at last 
surrender." To the neck of another statue a sack was tied 
and with it the words: "I have done what I could, but you 
have earned the sack. 1 People wrote on the columns that by 
his singing he had stirred up even the Gauls. 2 When night 
came on, many men pretended to be wrangling with their 
slaves and kept calling out for a vindicator. 8 

In addition he was frightened by manifest portents from 
dreams, auspices and omens, both old and new. He had never 
been in the habit of dreaming before he killed his mother. 
But after that he had such nightmares as: that he was steer- 
ing a ship and the helm was wrenched from his hands ; that he 
was dragged by his wife Octavia into thickest darkness; that 
now he was covered 'with a swarm of winged ants; or again, 
that the statues of all the heroes dedicated in Pompey's 
theater had surrounded him and blocked his way; that a 

1 The one in which parricides were sewn up. 

2 A double pun. Galli means both "cocks" and "Gauls"; cantarc "to 
crow" as well as "to sing." 

* Another pun. V index signifying both the leader "f the revolt in Gaul 
and one who punishes unruly servants. 


Spanish steed of which he was very fond was changed into the 
form of an ape in the hinder parts of its body, and its head, 
which alone remained unaltered, gave forth tuneful neighs. 
The doors of the Mausoleum flew open of their own accord, 
and a voice was heard from within summoning him by name. 
After his domestic Gods had been adorned on the Kalends 
of January, they fell to the ground in the midst of the prepa- 
rations for the sacrifice. As he was taking the auspices, 
Sporus made him a present of a ring with a stone on which 
was engraved the rape of Proserpina. When the vows were 
to be taken x and a great throng of classes had assembled, the 
keys of the Capitol could not be found for a long time. When 
a speech of his in which he assailed Vindex was being read 
in the Senate, at the words "the wretches will suffer punish- 
ment and a fitting end will soon be made of them," all who 
were present cried out with one voice: "You will make it, 
Augustus." Men had also not failed to notice that the last 
piece which he sang in public was "Oedipus in Exile," and 
that he ended with the line: 

"Wife, father, mother drive me to my death." 

In the meanwhile, when word came that the other armies 
had revolted, he tore to pieces the dispatches which were 
handed to him as he was dining, tipped over the table, and 
dashed to the ground two favorite drinking cups, which he 
called "Homeric," because they were carved with scenes from 
Homer's poems. Then taking some poison from Locusta and 
putting in into a golden box, he crossed over into the Servilian 
gardens, where he tried to induce the Tribunes and Cen- 
turions of the Guard to accompany him in his flight, first 
sending his most trustworthy freedmen to Ostia, to get a 
fleet ready. But when some gave evasive answers and some 
openly refused, one even cried: 

"Is it, then, such a dreadful thing, to die?" 2 
Whereupon he turned over various plans in his mind, whether 

- On ine ist oi January, for the prosperity oi the Emperor and the 
2 Vergil, Aeneid, XII, 646. 

NERO 275 

to go as a suppliant to the Parthians or to Galba, or to ap- 
pear to the people on the rostra, dressed in black, and beg 
as pathetically as he could for pardon for his past offenses; 
and if he could not soften their hearts, to entreat them at 
least to allow him the prefecture of Egypt. Afterwards a 
speech composed for this purpose was found in his writing 
desk. But it is thought that he did not dare to deliver it for 
fear of being torn to pieces before he could reach the Forum. 

Having therefore put off further consideration to the fol- 
lowing day, he awoke about midnight and finding that the 
guard of soldiers had left, he sprang from his bed and sent for 
all his friends. Since no reply came back from any one, he 
went himself to their rooms with a few followers. But finding 
that all the doors were closed and that no one replied to him 
he returned to his own chamber, from which now the very 
caretakers had fled, taking with them even the bed-clothing 
and the box of poison. Then he at once called for the gladi- 
ator Spiculus or any other skillful killer at whose hand he 
might find death, and when no one appeared, he cried "Have 
I then neither friend nor foe?" and ran out as if to throw him- 
self into the Tiber. 

Changing his purpose again, he sought for some retired 
place, where he could hide and collect his thoughts. And 
when his freedman Phaon offered his villa in the suburbs be- 
tween the Via Nomentana and the Via Salaria near the fourth 
milestone, just as he was, barefooted and in his tunic, he put 
on a faded cloak, covered his head, and holding a handker- 
chief before his face, mounted a horse with only four at- 
tendants, one of whom was Sporus. At once he was startled 
by a shock of earthquake and a flash of lightning full in his 
face, and he heard the shouts of the soldiers from the camp 
hard by, as they prophesied destruction for him and success 
for Galba. He also heard one of the wayfarers whom he met 
say: "These men are after Nero," and another ask: "Is there 
anything new in the city about Nero?" Then his horse took 
fright at the smell of a corpse which had been thrown out 
into the road, his face was exposed, and a retired soldier of 
the Guard recognized him and saluted him. When they came 
to a by-path leading to the villa, they turned the horses loose 
and he made his way amid bushes and brambles and along 


a path through a thicket of reeds to the back wall of the 
house, with great difficulty and only when a robe was thrown 
down for him to walk on. Here the aforesaid Phaon urged him 
to hide for a time in a pit, from which sand had been dug, but 
he declared that he would not go under ground while still 
alive, and after waiting for a while until a secret entrance into 
the villa could be made, he scooped up in his hand some water 
to drink from a pool close by, saying: "This is Nero's dis- 
tilled water." * Then, as his cloak had been torn by the thorns, 
he pulled out the twigs which had pierced it, and crawling on 
all fours through a narrow passage that had been dug, he 
entered the villa and lay down in the first room he came to, 
on a couch with a common mattress, over which an old cloak 
had been thrown. Though suffering from hunger and renewed 
thirst, he refused some coarse bread which was offered him, 
but drank a little lukewarm water. 

At last, while his companions one and all urged him to 
save himself as soon as possible from the indignities that 
threatened him, he bade them dig a grave in his presence, 
proportioned to the size of his own person, collect any bits 
of marble that could be found, and at the same time bring 
water and wood for presently disposing of his body. 2 As each 
of these things was done, he wept and said again and again: 
"What an artist the world is losing! " 

While he hesitated, a letter was brought to Phaon by one 
of his couriers. Nero snatching it from his hand read that he 
had been pronounced a public enemy by the Senate, and that 
they were seeking him to punish him in the ancient fashion. 
And he asked what manner of punishment that was. When 
he learned that the criminal was stripped naked, fastened by 
the neck in a forked stake and then beaten to death with rods, 
in mortal terror he seized two daggers which he had brought 
with him, and then, after trying the point of each, put them 
up again, pleading that the fated hour had not yet come. Now 
he would beg Sporus to begin to lament and wail, and now 
entreat some one to help him take his life by setting him the 
example. Anon he reproached himself for his cowardice in 

* Pliny tells us in Natural History (XXXIII, 3) that Nero had his 
drinking water boiled, to clear it from impurities, then cooled with ice. 

* Water for washing the corpse, fire for burning it. 

NERO 27; 

such words as these: "To live despoiled, disgraced this does 
not become Nero, does not become him one should be reso- 
lute at such times come, rouse thyself! " And now the horse- 
men were at hand who had orders to take him off alive. When 
he heard them, he quavered: 

"The trampling of swift-footed studs is in my ear," 1 

and drove a dagger into his throat, aided by Epaphroditus 
his private secretary. 2 He was all but dead when a Centurion 
rushed in, and as he placed a cloak to the wound, pretending 
that he had come to aid him, Nero merely gasped: "Too late! n 
and "This is fidelity! " With these words he was gone, his eyes 
so set and starting from their sockets that all who saw him 
shuddered with horror. First and beyond all else he had 
forced from his companions a promise to let no one have his 
head, but to contrive in some way that he be buried un- 
mutilated. And this was granted by Icelus, Galba's freed- 
man, who had shortly before been released from the bondage 
to which he was consigned at the beginning of the revolt. 

He was buried at a cost of two hundred thousand sesterces * 
and laid out in white robes embroidered with gold, which he 
had worn on the Kalends of January. His ashes were deposited 
by his nurses, Egloge and Alexandria, accompanied by his 
mistress Acte, in the family tomb of the Domitii on the sum- 
mit of the Hill of Gardens, 4 which is visible from the Campus 
Martius. In that monument his sarcophagus of porphyry, with 
an altar of marble from Luna standing above it, is enclosed 
by a balustrade of Thasian stone. 

He was about the average height, his body marked witJ> 
spots and malodorous, his hair light blond, his features regu- 
lar rather than attractive, his eyes blue and somewhat weak, 
his neck overthick, his belly prominent, and his legs very 
slender. His health was good, for though indulging in every 
kind of riotous excess, he was ill but three times in all during 
the fourteen years of his reign, and even then not enough to 

1 Iliad, X, 535- 

* For his death see Domitian. 
8 $8,200.00. 

* The Pincian Hill, where the statue, "The Dying Gladiator," wa 


honor be paid to the memory of Nero. In fact, twenty years 
later, when I was a young man, a person of obscure origin 
appeared, who gave out that he was Nero, and the name was 
still in such favor with the Parthians that they supported him 
rigorously and surrendered him with great reluctance. 



honor be paid to the memory of Nero. In fact, twenty years 
later, when I was a young man, a person of obscure origin 
appeared, who gave out that he was Nero, and the name was 
still in such favor with the Parthians that they supported him 
rigorously and surrendered him with great reluctance. 



THE race of the Caesars ended with Nero. That this would 
be so was shown by many portents and especially by two 
very significant ones. Years before, as Livia was returning to 
her estate near Veii, immediately after her marriage with 
Augustus, an eagle which flew by dropped into her lap a white 
hen, holding in its beak a sprig of laurel, just as the eagle 
had carried it off. Livia resolved to rear the fowl and plant 
the sprig, whereupon such a great brood of chickens was 
hatched that to this day the villa is called The Hen Roost, 
and such a grove of laurel sprang up, that the Caesars gath- 
ered their laurels from it when they were going to celebrate 
triumphs. Moreover it was the habit of those who triumphed 
to plant other branches at once in that same place, and it 
was observed that just before the death of each of them the 
tree which he had planted withered. Now in Nero's last year 
the whole grove died from the root up, as well as all the 
hens. Furthermore, when shortly afterwards the temple of 
the Caesars was struck by lightning, the heads fell from all 
the statues at the same time, and Augustus' scepter was 
dashed from his hand. 

Nero was succeeded by Galba, who was related in no de- 
gree to the house of the Caesars, although unquestionably 
of noble origin and of an old and powerful family. For he 
always added to the inscriptions on his statues that he was 
the great-grandson of Quintus Catulus Capitolinus, and when 
he became Emperor he even displayed a family tree in his 
hall in which he carried back his ancestry on his father's side 
to Jupiter and on his mother's to Pasiphae, the wife of Minos. 

It would be a long story to give in detail his illustrious 
ancestors and the honorary inscriptions of the entire race, but 
I shall give a brief account of his immediate family. It is un- 
certain why the first of the Sulpicii who bore the surname 
Galba assumed the name, and whence it was derived. Some 



think that it was because after having for a long time unsuc- 
cessfully besieged a town in Spain, he at last set fire to it by 
torches smeared with galbanum; * others because during a 
long illness he made constant use of galbeum, that is to say 
of remedies wrapped in wool; still others, because he was a 
very fat man, such as the Gauls term galba, or because he 
was, on the contrary, as slender as the insects called galbae, 
which breed in oak trees. 

The family acquired distinction from Servius Galba, who 
became Consul and was decidedly the most eloquent speaker 
of his time. This man, they say, was the cause of the war 
with Viriathus, because while governing Spain as Propraetor, 
he treacherously massacred thirty thousand of the Lusitani- 
ans. His grandson had been one of Caesar's lieutenants in 
Gaul, but angered because his commander caused his defeat 
for the consulship, he joined the conspiracy with Brutus and 
Cassius, and was consequently condemned to death by the 
Pedian law. From him were descended the grandfather and 
the father of the Emperor Galba. The former, who was more 
eminent for his learning than for his rank for he did not 
advance beyond the grade of Praetor published a volumi- 
nous and painstaking history. The father attained the con- 
sulship, and although he was short of stature and even hunch- 
backed, besides being only an indifferent speaker, was an 
industrious pleader at the bar. He married Mummia Achaica, 
the granddaughter of Catulus and great-granddaughter of 
Lucius Mummius who destroyed Corinth; and later Livia 
Ocellina, a very rich and beautiful woman, who however is 
thought to have sought marriage with him because of his 
high rank, and the more eagerly when, in response to her 
frequent advances, he took off his robe in A nvate and showed 
her his deformity, so as not to seem to dr ,eive her by con- 
cealing it. By Achaica he had two sons, Gaius and Servius, 
Gaius, who was the elder, left Rome after squandering the 
greater part of his estate, and committed suicide because 
Tiberius would not allow him to take part in the allotment 
of the provinces in his year. 

1 The gum resin from a species of Tertda growing on deserts in 


The Emperor Servius Galba was born in the consulship of 
Marcus Valerius Messala and Gnaeus Lentulus, on the ninth 
day before the Kalends of January, in a country house situ- 
ated on a hill near Tarracina, on the left as you go towards 
Fundi. Adopted by his stepmother Livia, he took her name 
and the surname Ocella, and also changed his forename; for 
he used Lucius, instead of Servius, from that time until he 
became Emperor. It is well known that when he was still a 
boy and called to pay his respects to Augustus with others 
of his age, the Emperor pinched his cheek and said in Greek: 
"Thou too, child, wilt have a nibble at this power of mine." 
Tiberius too, when he heard that Galba was destined to be 
Emperor, but in his old age, said: "Well, let him live then, 
since that does not concern me." Again, when Galba's grand- 
father was busy with a sacrifice to avert a stroke of lightning, 
and an eagle snatched the intestines from his hand and car* 
tied them to an oak full of acorns, the prediction was made 
that the highest dignity would come to the family, but late; 
whereupon he said with a laugh: "Very likely, when a mule 
has a foal! " Afterwards when Galba was beginning his revolt, 
nothing gave him so much encouragement as the foaling of 
a mule, and while the rest were horrified and looked on it asj 
an unfavorable omen, he alone regarded it as most propitious^ 
remembering the sacrifice and his grandfather's saying. 

When he assumed the gown of manhood, he dreamt that 
Fortune said that she was tired of standing before his door, 
and that unless she were quickly admitted, she would fall a 
prey to the first comer. When he awoke, opening the door 
of the hall, he found close by the threshold a bronze statue 
of Fortune more than a cubit high. This he carried in his arms 
to Tusculum, where he usually spent the summer, and con- 
secrated it in a room of his house. And from that time on he 
honored it with sacrifices every month and with an all-night 
vigil once a year. 

Even before he reached middle life, he persisted in keeping 
up an old and forgotten custom of his country, which sur- 
vived only in his own household, of having his freedmen and 
slaves appear before him twice a day in a body, greeting him 
in th* morning and bidding him farewell at evening, one by 


Among other liberal studies he applied himself to the law. 
He also assumed a husband's duties, but after losing his wife 
Lepida and two sons whom he had by her, he remained a 
widower. And he could not be tempted afterwards by any 
match, not even with Agrippina, who no sooner lost Domitius 
by death than she set her cap for Galba so obviously, even 
before the death of his wife, that Lepida's mother scolded 
her roundly before a company of matrons and went so far 
as to slap her. 

He showed marked respect to Livia Augusta, 1 to whose 
favor he owed great influence during her lifetime and by 
whose last will he almost became a rich man, for he had the 
largest bequest among her legatees, one of fifty million sester- 
ces. 2 But because the sum was designated in figures and not 
written out in words, Tiberius, who was her heir, reduced the 
;bequest to five hundred thousand, 8 and Galba never received 
ven that amount. 

He began his career of office before the legal age, and in 
celebrating the games of the Floralia in his praetorship he 
gave a new kind of exhibition, namely of elephants walking 
the rope. Then he governed the province of Aquitania for 
nearly a year and soon afterwards held a regular consulship 
for six months. It chanced that in this office he succeeded 
Lucius * Domitius, the father of Nero, and was succeeded by 
Salvius Otho, the father of the Emperor Otho, a kind of 
omen of what happened later, when he became Emperor 
between the reigns of the sons of these two men. 

Appointed by Gaius Caesar to supersede Gaetulicus as 
Governor of Upper Germany, the day after he appeared be- 
fore the legions he put a stop to their applause at a festival 
which chanced to fall at that time, by issuing a written order 
to keep their hands under their cloaks; and immediately, this 
verse was bandied about the camp: 

"Learn, soldier, how in arms to use your hands, 
Galba now, not Gaetulicus, commands." 

* Widow of Augustus. 

* $20,500.00. 

* Either Suetonius is in error or the manuscripts; the nanx should 
be Gnaeus. 


With equal strictness he put a stop to the requests for 
furloughs. He got both the veterans and the new recruits into 
condition by plenty of hard work, speedily checked the bar- 
barians, who had already made inroads even into Gaul, and 
when Gaius x arrived, Galba and his army made such a good 
impression, that out of the great body of troops assembled 
from all the provinces none received greater commendation 
or richer rewards. Galba particularly distinguished himself, 
while directing the military maneuvers shield in hand, by 
actually running for twenty miles close beside the Emperor's 

When the murder of Gaius was announced, although many 
urged Galba to take advantage of the opportunity, he pre- 
ferred quiet. Hence he was in high favor with Claudius, be* 
came one of his staff of intimate friends, and was treated 
with such consideration that the departure of the expedition 
to Britain was put off because Galba was taken with a sudden 
illness, of no great severity. He governed Africa for two >ears 
with th6 rank of Proconsul, being specially chosen 2 to restore 
order in the province, which was disturbed both by internal 
strife and by a revolt of the barbarians. And he was success- 
ful, owing to his insistence on strict discipline and his ob- 
servance of justice even in trifling matters. When provisions 
were scarce during some expedition, a soldier was accused of 
having sold wheat left from his rations at a hundred denarii 
a peck. Galba gave orders that when the man began to lack 
food, he should receive aid from no one, and he starved to 
death. On another occasion when he was holding court and 
the question of the ownership of a beast of burden was laid 
before him, as the evidence on both sides was slight and the 
witnesses unreliable, so that it was difficult to get at the 
truth, he ruled that the beast should be led with its hsad 
muffled up to the pool where it was usually watered, that it 
should then be unmuffied, and should belong to the man to 
whom it returned to its own accord after drinking. 

His services in Africa at that time, and previously in Get* 
many, were recognized by the triumphal regalia and three 

1 For whose German exploits see Caligula. 

2 Except in special cases, like this, Governors were appointed br 
lot from among those eligible. 


priesthoods, for he was chosen a member of the Fifteen, 1 
made one of the Brotherhood of Titius 2 and priest of 
Augustus. 8 After that he lived for the most part in retirement 
until about the middle of Nero's reign, never going out even 
for recreation without taking a million sesterces in gold with 
him in a second carriage, 4 until at last, while he was staying 
in the town of Fundi, Hispania Tarraconensis was offered 
him. And it fell out that as he was offering sacrifice in a public 
temple after his arrival in the province, the hair of a young 
attendant who was carrying an incense-box suddenly turned 
white all over his head, and there were some who did not hesi- 
tate to interpret this as a sign of a change of rulers and of 
the succession of an old man to a young one ; that is to say, 
of Galba to Nero. Not long after this lightning struck a lake 
of Cantabria and twelve axes were found there, an unmistak- 
able token of supreme power. 

For eight years he governed the province in a variable and 
inconsistent manner. At first he was vigorous and energetic 
and even over-severe in punishing offenses. For he cut off the 
hands of a money-lender who carried on his business dis- 
honestly and nailed them to his counter and he crucified a 
man for poisoning his ward, whose property he was to inherit 
in case of his death. When the man invoked the law and de- 
clared that he was a Roman citizen, Galba, pretending to 
lighten his punishment by some consolation and honor, or- 
dered that a cross much higher than the rest and painted 
white be set up, and the man transferred to it. But he gradu- 
ally changed to sloth and inaction, so as to give Nero no 
cause for jealousy because, as he used to say himself, no 
one could be forced to render an account for doing nothing. 

As he was holding the assizes at New Carthage, he learned 
of the rebellion of the Gallic provinces through an urgent 
appeal for help from the Governor of Aquitania. Then came 
letters from Vindex, calling upon him to make himself the 
liberator and leader of mankind. So without much hesitation 
he accepted the proposal, led by fear as well as by hope. For 

1 Supervisors of Sacrifices and the Sibylline Books. 

2 A priesthood which perpetuated certain ancient Sabine rites. 
8 Tiberius instituted the worship of Augustus. 

4 $4 1 ,000 .00; so, if need be, he could leave the country at once. 


he had intercepted dispatches ordering his own death, which 
had been secretly sent by Nero to his agents. He was en- 
couraged too, in addition to most favorable auspices and 
omens, by the prediction of a young girl of high birth, and 
the more so because the priest of Jupiter at Clunia, directed 
by a dream, had found in the inner shrine of his temple the 
very same prediction, likewise spoken by an inspired girl 
two hundred years before. And the purport of the verses was 
that one day there would come forth from Spain the ruler 
and lord of the world. 

Accordingly, pretending that he was going to attend to the 
manumitting of slaves, he mounted the tribunal. On the front 
of it he had set up as many images as he could find of those 
who had been condemned and put to death by Nero, having 
by his side a boy of noble family, whom he had summoned 
for that very purpose from his place of exile hard by in the 
Balearic Isles. But instead he began to deplore the state of 
the times. When he was forthwith hailed as Emperor, he 
declared that he was their Governor, representing the Senate 
and people of Rome. Then proclaiming a holiday, he en^ 
rolled from the people of the province legions and auxiliaries 
in addition to his former force of one legion, two divisions of 
cavalry, and three cohorts. Eut from the oldest and most 
experienced of the nobles he chose a Kind of Senate, to whom 
he might refer matters of special importance whenever it 
was necessary. He also chose young men of the order of 
Knights, who were to have the title of Volunteers and keep 
guard before his bedchamber in place of the regular soldiers, 
without losing their right to wear the gold ring. He also sent 
proclamations broadcast throughout the province, urging all 
men individually and collectively to join the revolution and 
aid the common cause in every possible way. 

At about this same time, during the fortification of a town 
which he had chosen as the seat of war, a ring of ancient 
workmanship was found, containing a precious stone en- 
graved with a Victory and a trophy. Immediately afterwards 
a ship from Alexandria loaded with arms arrived at Dertosa * 
without a pilot, without a single sailor or passenger, removing 

1 Now Corunna. 


all doubt in any one's mind that the war was just and holy 
and undertaken with the approval of the Gods. Then sud- 
denly and unexpectedly the whole plan was almost brought 
to naught. One of the two divisions of cavalry, repenting of 
its change of allegiance, attempted to desert Galba as he was 
approaching his camp and was with difficulty prevented. 
Some slaves too, whom one of Nero's freedmen had given 
Galba with treachery in view, all but slew him as he was 
going to the bath through a narrow passage-way. In fact 
they would have succeeded, had they not conjured one an- 
other not to miss the opportunity and so been questioned as 
to what the opportunity was to which they referred. For 
when they were put to the torture, a confession was wrung 
from them. 

To these great perils was added the death of Vindex, by 
which he was especially panic-stricken and came near taking 
his own life, in the belief that all was lost. But when some 
messengers came from the city, reporting that Nero was 
dead and that all the people had sworn allegiance to him, he 
laid aside the title of Governor and assumed that of Caesar. 
He then began his march to Rome in a general's cloak with a 
dagger hanging from his neck in front of his breast; and he 
did not resume the toga until he had overthrown those who 
Were plotting against him, Nymphidius Sabinus, Prefect of 
the praetorian guard at Rome, and the Governors of Ger- 
many and Africa, Fonteius Capito and Clodius Macer. 

His double reputation for cruelty and avarice had gone 
before him. Men said that he had punished the cities of the 
Spanish and Gallic provinces which had hesitated about tak- 
ing sides with him by heavier taxes and some even by the 
razing of their walls, putting to death the Governors and 
imperial deputies along with their wives and children. Fur- 
ther, that he had melted down a golden crown of fifteen 
pounds' weight, which the people of Tarraco had taken from 
their ancient temple of Jupiter and presented to him, with 
orders that the three ounces which were found lacking be 
exacted from them. This reputation was confirmed and even 
augmented immediately on his arrival in the city. For having 
compelled some marines whom Nero had made regular 
soldiers to return to their former positions as rowers, upon 


their refusing and obstinately insisting they remain under 
the eagle and standards, he not only dispersed them by a 
cavalry charge, but even decimated them. He also disbanded 
a cohort of Germans, whom the previous Caesars had made 
their bodyguard and had found absolutely faithful in many 
emergencies, and sent them back to their native country 
without any rewards, alleging that they were more favorably 
inclined toward Gnaeus Dolabella, near whose gardens they 
had their camp. The following tales too were told in mockery 
of him, whether truly or falsely: that when an unusually 
elegant dinner was set before him, he groaned aloud; and 
when his duly appointed steward presented his expense ac- 
count, he handed him a dish of beans in return for his in-* 
dustry and carefulness ; and that when the flute player Canus 
greatly pleased him, he presented him with five denarii, 1 
which he took from his own purse with his own hand. 2 

Accordingly his coming was not so welcome as it might 
have been, and this was apparent at the first performance 
in the theater. For when the actors of an Atellan farce began 
the familiar lines 

"Here comes Reuben from his farm" 

all the spectators at once finished the song in chorus and 
repeated it several times with appropriate gestures, beginning 
with that verse. 

Thus his popularity and prestige were greater when he 
won, than while he ruled the empire, though he gave many 
proofs of being an excellent prince. But he was by no means 
so much loved for those qualities as he was hated for his 
acts of the opposite character. 

He was wholly under the control of three men, who were 
commonly known as his tutors because they lived with him 
in the palace and never left his side. They were Titus Vinius, 
one of his generals in Spain, a man of unbounded covetous- 
ness; Cornelius Laco, advanced from the position of judge's 

* Plutarch (Galba, XVI) says the gift was of gold pieces and that 
Galba said it came from his own and not the public purse. Galba'i 
frugality was regarded as stinginess by a people accustomed to Nero** 


assistant to that of Prefect of the Guard and intolerably 
haughty and indolent; and his own freedman Icelus, who 
had only just before received the honor of the gold ring and 
the surname of Marcianus, yet already aspired to the highest 
office open to the equestrian order. 1 To these brigands, each 
with his different vice, he so entrusted and handed himself 
over as their tool, that his conduct was far from consistent. 
For at one time he was more exacting and niggardly, and at 
another more extravagant and reckless than became a prince 
chosen by the people and of his time of life. 

He condemned to death divers distinguished men of both 
orders on trivial suspicions without a trial. He rarely granted 
Roman citizenship, and the privileges due those who had 
three children to only one or two at most, and even to those 
only for a fixed and limited time. When the jurors petitioned 
that a sixth division be added to their number, he not only 
refused, but even deprived them of the privilege granted by 
Claudius, of not being summoned for court duty in winter 
and at the beginning of the year. 

It was thought too that he intended to limit the offices 
open to Senators and Knights to a period of two years, and 
to give them only to such as did not wish them and declined 
them. He had all the grants of Nero revoked, 2 allowing only 
a tenth part to be retained. He exacted repayment of these 
with the help of fifty Roman Knights, stipulating that even 
if the actors and athletes had sold anything that had formerly 
been given them, it should be taken away from the purchasers, 
in case the recipient had spent the money and could not 
repay it. On the other hand, there was nothing that he did 
not allow his friends and freedmen to sell at a price or 
bestow as a favor, taxes and freedom from taxation, the 
punishment of the guiltless and impunity for the guilty. Nay 
more, when the Roman people called for the punishment of 
Halotus and Tigellinus, the most utterly abandoned of all 
Nero's creatures, not content with saving their lives, he 
honored Halotus with a very important stewardship and in 

1 Prefect of the praetorian guard. 

3 Which, according to Tacitus (Histories, I, 20) amounted to over 


the case of Tigellinus even issued an edict rebuking the 
people for their cruelty. 

Having thus incurred the hatred of almost all men of every 
class, he was especially detested by the soldiers. For although 
their officers * had promised them a larger gift than common 
when they swore allegiance to Galba in his absence, so far 
from keeping the promise, he declared more than once that 
it was his habit to levy troops, not buy them. Because of this 
he embittered the soldiers all over the empire. The praetorians 
he filled besides with both fear and indignation by discharging 
many of them from time to time as under suspicion of being 
partisans of Nymphidius. But loudest of all was the grum- 
bling of the army in Upper Germany, because it was de- 
frauded of the reward for its services against the Gauls and 
Vindex. Hence they were the. first to venture on mutiny, re- 
fusing on the Kalends of January to swear allegiance to any 
one save the Senate, and at once resolving to send a deputa* 
tion to the praetorians with the following message: that the 
Emperor created in Spain did not suit them and the Guard 
must choose one who would be acceptable to all the armies. 

When this was reported to Galba, thinking that it was not 
so much his age as his lack of children that was criticized, he 
picked out Piso Frugi Licianus from the midst of the throng 
at one of his morning receptions, a young man of noble birth 
and high character, who had long been one of his special 
favorites and always named in his will as heir to his property 
and his name. Calling him son, he led him to the praetorian 
camp and adopted him before the assembled soldiers. But 
even then he made no mention of largess, thus making it 
easier for Marcus Salvius Otho to accomplish his purpose 
within six days after the adoption. 

Many prodigies in rapid succession from the very begin* 
ning of his reign had foretold Galba 's end exactly as it hap- 
pened. When victims were being slain to right and left in 

1 According to Plutarch (Galba, 2) it was Nymphidius Sabinus, 
Prefect of the praetorian guard, who made this promise. Other officers 
doubtless followed his example. This failure to give the soldiers the 
donative to which they had become accustomed contributed more to 
Galba's ruin than even the odium he incurred by the rapatiousness of 
his favorites. 


every town along his way, 1 an ox, maddened by the stroke 
of an ax, broke its bonds and charged the Emperor's chariot, 
and as it raised its feet, deluged him with blood. And as 
Galba dismounted, one of his guards, pushed forward by the 
crowd, almost wounded him with his lance. Again, as he en- 
tered the city, and later the Palace, he was met by a shock 
of earthquake and a sound like the lowing of kine. There 
followed even clearer signs. He had set apart from all the 
treasure a necklace fashioned of pearls and precious stones, 
for the adornment of his statue of Fortune at Tusculum. 
This on a sudden impulse he consecrated to the Capitoline 
Venus, thinking it worthy of a more august position. The 
next night Fortune appeared to him in his dreams, complain- 
ing of being robbed of the gift intended for her and threaten- 
ing in her turn to take away what she had bestowed. When 
Galba hastened in terror to Tusculum at daybreak, to offer 
expiatory sacrifices because of the dream, and sent on men 
to make preparations for the ceremony, he found on the altaf 
nothing but warm ashes and beside it an old man dressed in 
black, holding the incense in a glass dish and the wine in an 
earthen cup. 2 It was also remarked that as he was sacrificing 
on the Kalends of January, the garland fell from his head, 
and that as he took the auspices, the sacred chickens flew 
away. As he was on the point of addressing the soldiers on 
the day of the adoption, his camp chair, through the forget- 
fulness of his attendants, was not placed on the tribunal, as 
is customary, and in the Senate his curule chair was set 
wrong side foremost. 

As he was offering sacrifice on the morning before he was 
killed, a soothsayer warned him again and again to look out 
for danger, since assassins were not far off. 

Not long after this he learned that Otho held possession 
bf the camp of the praetorian guard. When several advised 
him to proceed thither as soon as possible, saying that he 
could win the day by his presence and prestige, he decided to 
do no more than hold his present position and strengthen it 

1 From Spain to Rome. 

2 The fire should have been blazing brightly and a youth dad in 
white should have carried the incense and wine in more costly it. 


by getting together a guard of the legionaries, who were en- 
camped in many different quarters of the city. He did how* 
ever put on a linen cuirass, though he openly declared that 
it would afford little protection against so many swords. But 
he was lured out by false reports, circulated by the conspira- 
tors to induce him to appear in public. For when a fevt 
rashly assured him that the trouble was over, that the rebels 
had been overthrown, and that the rest were coming in a 
body to offer their congratulations, ready to submit to all hi? 
orders, he went out to meet them with so much confidence, 
that when one of the soldiers boasted that he had slain Otho, 
he asked him, "On whose authority?" and then he went oi\ 
as far as the Forum. There the horsemen who had been bidden 
to slay him, spurring their horses through the streets and 
dispersing the crowd of civilians, caught sight of him from a 
distance and halted for a moment. Then they rushed upon 
him and butchered him, abandoned by his followers. 

Some say that at the beginning of the disturbance he cried 
out, "What mean you, fellow soldiers? I am yours and you 
are mine," and that he even promised them the largess. But 
the more general account is, that he offered them his neck 
without resistance, urging them to do their duty and strike, 
since it was their will. It might seem very surprising that 
none of those present tried to lend aid to their Emperor, and 
that all who were sent for treated the summons with con- 
tempt except a company of German troops. These, because 
of his recent kindness in showing them great indulgence when 
they were weakened by illness, flew to his help, but through 
their unfamiliarity with the city took a roundabout way and 
arrived too late. 

He was killed beside the Lake of Curtius * and was left 
lying just as he was, until a common soldier, returning from 
a distribution of grain, threw down his load and cut off the 
head. Then, since there was no hair by which to grasp it, 
he put it under his robe, but later thrust his thumb into the 
mouth and so carried it to Otho. He handed it over to his 
servants and camp-followers, who set it on a lance and 
paraded it about the camp with jeers, crying out from time 

1 In the Forum. 


to time, "Galba, thou Cupid, take joy in thy vigor!" The 
special reason for this saucy jest was, that the report had 
gone abroad a few days before, that when some one had 
congratulated him on still looking young and vigorous, he 

"As yet my strength is unimpaired." * 

From these it was brought by a freedman of Patrobius 
Neronianus for a hundred pieces of gold 2 and thrown aside 
in the place where his patron had been executed by Galba 's 
order. At last, however, his steward Argivus consigned it to 
the tomb with the rest of the body in Galba 's private gardens 
on the Aurelian Road. 

He was of average height, very bald, with blue eyes and a 
hooked nose. His hands and feet were so distorted by gout 
that he could not endure a shoe for long, unroll a book, or 
even hold one. The flesh on his right side too had grown out 
and hung down to such an extent, that it could with difficulty 
be held in place by a bandage. 

It is said that he was a heavy eater and in winter time 
was in the habit of taking food even before daylight, while 
at dinner he helped himself so lavishly that he would have 
the leavings which remained in a heap before him passed 
along and distributed among the attendants who waited on 
him. 8 He was much inclined to unnatural desire, and in 
gratifying it preferred full-grown, strong men. They say that 
when Icelus, one of his old-time favorites, brought him news 
in Spain of Nero's death, he not only received him openly 
with the fondest kisses, but begged him to prepare himself 
without delay and took him privately aside. 

He met his end in the seventy-third year of his age and 
the seventh month of his reign. The Senate, as soon as it was 
allowed to do so, voted him a statue standing upon a column 
adorned with the beaks of ships, in the part of the Forum 
where he was slain. But Vespasian annulled this decree, be* 
lieving that Galba had sent assassins from Spain to Judaea, 
to take his life. 

1 Iliad, Si *54J Odyssey, ax, 426. 

3 These pieces, aurei, were equivalent to about $4.00 each. 
8 He ate so much that the remains were enough to feed the at- 


THE ancestors of Otho came from an old and illustrious 
family in the town of Ferentium and were descended from the 
princes of Etruria. His grandfather Marcus Salvius Otho r 
whose father was a Roman Knight but whose mother was 
of lowly origin and perhaps not even free-born, became a 
Senator through the influence of Livia Augusta, in whose 
house he was reared, but did not advance beyond the grade 
of Praetor. 

His father Lucius Otho was of a distinguished family on 
his mother's side, with many powerful connections, and was 
so beloved by Tiberius and so like him in appearance, that 
he was believed by many to be the Emperor's son. In the 
regular offices at Rome, the Proconsulate of Africa, and sev- 
eral special military commands he conducted himself with 
extreme severity. In Illyricum he even had the courage to 
punish some soldiers with death, because in the rebellion of 
Camillus, 1 repenting of their defection, they had killed their 
officers on the ground that they were the ringleaders in the 
revolt against Claudius. And they were executed in his pres- 
ence before his headquarters, although he knew that they 
had been promoted to higher positions by Claudius because 
of that very act. By this deed, while he increased his repu- 
tation, he lost favor at court. But he speedily regained it by 
detecting the treachery of a Roman Knight, whose slaves 
betrayed their master's design of killing the Emperor. For in 
consequence of this, the Senate conferred a very unusual 
honor on him by setting up his statue in the Palace, and 
Claudius also enrolled him among the patricians, and after 
praising him in the highest terms, added these words: "Such 
a man I do not wish my children may surpass." By Albia 
Terentia, a woman of an illustrious line, he had two sons, 
Lucius Titianus and a younger called Marcus, who had tb* 

1 Mentioned in Claudius. 



same surname as himself ; also a daughter, whom he betrothed 
to Drusus, son of Germanicus, almost before she was of mar- 
riageable age. 

The Emperor Otho was born on the fourth day before the 
Kalends of May in the consulate of Camillus Arruntius and 
Domitius Ahenobarbus. From earliest youth he was so ex- 
travagant and wild that his father often flogged him. And 
they say that he used to rove about at night and lay hands 
on any one whom he met who was feeble or drunk and toss 
him in a blanket. 

After his father's death he pretended love for an influential 
freedwoman of the court, although she was an old woman and 
almost decrepit, that he might more effectually win her favor. 
Having through her wormed his way into Nero's good graces, 
he easily held the first place among the Emperor's friends be- 
cause of the similarity of their characters, but according to 
some, also through immoral relations. At any rate his influ- 
ence was such, that when he had bargained for a huge sum 
of money to procure the pardon of an ex-consul who had been 
condemned for extortion, he had no hesitation in bringing 
him into the Senate to give thanks, before he had fully se- 
cured his restoration. 

He was privy to all the Emperor's plans and secrets, and on 
the day which Nero had chosen for the murder of his mother 
he gave both of them a most elaborate banquet, in order to 
avert suspicion. Also when Poppaea Sabina, who up to that 
time had been Nero's mistress, was separated from her husband 
and turned over for the time being to Otho, he pretended 
marriage with her. 1 But not content with seducing her he be- 
came so devoted that he could not endure the thought of hav- 
ing Nero even as a rival. At all events it is believed that he not 
only would not admit those whom Nero sent to fetch her, but 
that on one occasion he even shut out the Emperor himself, 
who stood before his door, vainly mingling threats and en- 
treaties and demanding the return of his trust. Therefore Nero 
annulled the marriage and tinder color of an appointment 
as Governor banished Otho to Lusitania, contenting himself 

1 Tacitus writes, Annals XIII, 45, the marriage was real, which may 
also be inferred from below. 


with this through fear that by inflicting a severer punishment 
he would make the whole farce public. But even as it was, it 
was published abroad in this couplet: 

"You ask why Otho's banished? Know the cause 
Comes not within the scope of vulgar laws. 
Against all rules of fashionable life 
The rogue had dared to sleep with his own wife." 

With the rank of Quaestor * Otho governed the province for 
ten years with remarkable moderation and integrity. 

When at last an opportunity for revenge was given him, 
Otho was the first to espouse Galba's cause, at the same time 
conceiving on his own account high hopes of imperial power, 
because of the state of the times, but still more because of a 
declaration of the astrologer Seleucus. 2 For he had not only 
promised Otho some time before that he would survive Nero, 
but had at this time unexpectedly appeared unsought and 
made the further promise, that he would soon become Em- 
peror as well. 

Accordingly Otho let slip no opportunity for flattery or 
attention to any one. Whenever he entertained Galba at din- 
ner, he gave a gold piece to each man of the cohort on guard, 
and put all the soldiers under obligation in one form or an- 
other. Chosen arbiter by a man who was at law with his 
neighbor about a part of his estate, he bought the whole prop- 
erty and presented it to him. As a result there was hardly 
any one who did not both think and openly declare that he 
alone was worthy to succeed to the empire. 

Now he had hoped to be adopted by Galba, and looked for- 
ward to it from day to day. But when Piso was preferred 
and he at last lost that hope, he resorted to force, spurred on 
not merely by feelings of resentment, but also by the great- 
ness of his debts. For he flatly declared that he could not keep 
on his feet unless he became Emperor, and that it made no 
difference whether he fell at the hands of the enemy in battle 
or at those of his creditors in the Forum. 

iAs a rule only those who had been Consuls or Praetors wen 
appointed provincial governors. 
2 Ptolemaeus, according to Tacitus and Plutarch. 


He had extorted a million sesterces l from one of the Em- 
peror's slaves a few days before for getting him a steward- 
ship. This was the entire capital for his great undertaking. At 
first the enterprise was entrusted to five of his body-guard, 
then to ten others, two being chosen by each of the first five. 
To all of them ten thousand sesterces 2 were paid at once and 
they were promised fifty thousand 8 more. Through these 
others were won over, but not so very many, since he had full 
confidence more would join him when the business was afoot. 

He had been inclined to seize the camp immediately after 
the adoption, and set upon Galba as he was dining in the 
palace, but had been prevented by consideration for the co- 
hort which was on guard at the time, and a reluctance to in- 
crease its ill repute. For it was while that same cohort was at 
its post that both Gaius had been slain and Nero had 
been forsaken. The intervening time 4 was lost owing to bad 
Dmens and the warnings of Seleucus. 

Accordingly, when the day was set, after admonishing his 
confederates to await him at the golden mile-post 6 under the 
temple of Saturn in the Forum, he called upon Galba in the 
morning and was welcomed as usual with a kiss. He also at- 
tended the Emperor as he was offering sacrifice, and heard 
the predictions of the soothsayer. Then a f reedman announced 
that the architects had come, which was the signal agreed on, 
and going off as if to inspect a house which was for sale, he 
rushed from the palace by a back door and hastened to the 
appointed place. Others say that he feigned an attack of 
fever and asked those who stood near him to give that ex- 
cuse, in case he should be missed. Then hurriedly entering a 
closed sedan, such as women use, he hurried to the camp, but 
got out when the bearers' strength flagged, and started to 
run. His shoe came untied and he stopped, whereupon with- 
out delay he was at once taken up on the shoulders of his 

1 $41,000.00. 

2 $410.00. 

8 $2,050.00. 

4 Between the adoption and the death of Galba, a space of five days. 

8 The gilded pillar at which all the great military roads of Italy 
converged. On it were marked the distances to the principal towns. It 
was erected by Augustus in 20 B.C. 


companions and hailed as Emperor. In this way he arrived 
at headquarters, amid acclamations and drawn swords, while 
every one whom he met fell in, just as though he were an 
accomplice and a participator in the plot. He then sent emis- 
saries to kill Galba and Piso, and made no further promises 
in the assembly to win the loyalty of the soldiers than to de- 
clare that he would have that, and only that, which they 
should leave to him. 

Next, as the day was drawing to its close, he entered the 
Senate and after giving a brief account of himself, alleging 
that he had been carried off in the streets and forced to under- 
take the rule, which he would exercise in accordance with the 
general will, he went to the palace. When in the midst of the 
other adulations of those who congratulated and flattered 
him, he was hailed by the common herd as Nero, he made 
no sign of dissent. On the contrary, according to some writers, 
he even made use of that surname in his commissions and his 
first letters to some of the Governors of the provinces. Cer- 
tain it is that he suffered Nero's busts and statues to be set 
up again, and reinstated his procurators and freedmen in 
their former posts, while the first grant that he signed as 
Emperor was one of fifty million sesterces x for finishing the 
Golden House. 

It is said that he had a fearful dream that night, uttered 
loud groans, and was found by those who ran to his aid ly- 
ing on the bare floor beside his couch ; that he tried by every 
kind of expiatory rite to propitiate the shade of Galba, by 
whom he dreamt that he was ousted and thrown out; and that 
next day, as he was taking the auspices, a great storm arose 
and he had a bad fall, whereat he muttered from time to time: 

With long pipes what concern have I? 2 

Now at about this same time the armies in Germany swore 
allegiance to Vitellius. When Otho learned of this, he per- 
suaded the Senate to send a deputation, to say that an Em- 
peror had already been chosen and to counsel peace and har- 
mony. In spite of this he offered Vitellius by messengers and 

1 $2,050,000.00. 

2 A proverbial expression meaning to undertake something beyond 
one's powers. 


letters a share in the imperial dignity and proposed to become 
his son-in-law. But when it became clear that war was inevi- 
table, and the generals and troops which Vitellius had sent in 
advance were already drawing near, he was given a proof of 
the affection and loyalty of the praetorians towards himself 
which almost resulted in the destruction of the Senate. It had 
been resolved that some arms should be removed and carried 
back 1 on shipboard by the marines. But as these were being 
taken out of the camp armory towards nightfall, some sus- 
pected treachery and started a riot. Then on a sudden all the 
uoldiers hastened to the palace without any particular leader, 
demanding the death of the Senators. After putting to flight 
some of the Tribunes who attempted to stop them, and killing 
others, just as they were, all blood-stained, they burst right 
into the dining-room, demanding to know where the Emperor 
was. And they could not be quieted until they had seen him. 

He began his expedition with energy and in fact too hast- 
ily, without any regard even for the omens, and in spite of 
the fact that the sacred shields had been taken out, 2 but not 
yeft put back, which for ages has been considered unlucky. 
This was on the very day, too, when the worshipers of the 
Mother of the Gods 8 begin their wailing and lamentation, 
and also with most unfavorable auspices. For having offered 
up a victim to father Dis, he had good omens, whereas in such 
a sacrifice adverse indications are more favorable. And when 
he first left the city, he was delayed by floods of the Tiber, 
while at the twentieth milestone he found the road blocked by 
fallen buildings. 

With like rashness, although no one doubted that the 
proper course was to protract the war, since the enemy were 
hard pressed by hunger and by the narrowness of their quar* 
ters, he decided to fight a decisive battle as soon as possible, 
either because he could not endure the continued worry and 
hoped that the war could be ended before the arrival of 
Vitellius, or from inability to resist the impetuosity of his 

1 To Ostia. 

2 Of the temple of Mars to be carried through the streets in the 
sacred procession customary before leaving for military operations. 

'Cybele, whose festival was from March 24 to 50. Her priests were 
castrates, and in her rites sexual elements predominated. 


soldiers, who clamored for the fight. He himself did not taut 
part in any of the battles, but remained behind at Brixellum. 1 

He was victorious in three contests, but they were of little 
moment: in the Alps, near Placentia, and "at Castor's," as the 
place is called. In the final and decisive struggle at Betri- 
acum he was defeated, but through treachery. For hope of $ 
conference was offered, and when his soldiers were led out ii 
the belief that they were to discuss terms of peace, a battle 
Was forced upon them unexpectedly, just as they were exchange 
ing greetings with the foe. After the defeat, Otho at once re- 
solved to take his own life, rather from a feeling of shame, as 
many have thought with good reason, and an unwillingness 
to persist in a struggle for imperial power at the expense of 
such danger to life and property, than from any despair of 
success or distrust of his troops. For even then he had a fresh 
and strong force which he had held in reserve for a second at- 
tempt, while others were on their way from Dalmalia, Pan- 
nonia, and Moesia. Even the defeated troops were not so 
crushed as not to be ready to undergo any danger, and even 
without support undertake to avenge their disgrace. 

My father Suetonius Laetus took part in that war, as a 
Tribune of the equestrian order in the thirteenth legion. He 
used often to declare afterwards that Otho, even when he was 
a private citizen, so loathed civil strife, that at the mere 
mention of the fate of Brutus and Cassius at a bannuet he 
shuddered; that he would not have engaged with Ga^ba. if he 
had not felt confident that the affair could be settled peace- 
fully; further, that he was led to hold his life cheap at that 
time by the example of a common soldier. This man on 
bringing news of the defeat of the army was believed by no 
one, but was charged by the soldiers now with falsehood and 
now with cowardice, and accused of running away. Where- 
upon he fell on his sword at the Emperor's feet. My father 
used to say that at this sight Otho cried out that he would 
no longer endanger the lives of such brave men, who had 
deserved so well. 

Having therefore advised his brother, his nephew, and his 
friends one by one to look out each for his own safety as best 

1 Between Mantua and Cremona. 


they could, he embraced and kissed them all and sent them 
off. Then going to a retired place he wrote two notes, one of 
consolation to his sister, and one to Nero's widow Messalina, 
whom he had intended to marry, commending to her his 
corpse and his memory. Then he burned all his letters, to 
prevent them from bringing danger or harm to any one at the 
hands of the victor. He also distributed what money he had 
with him among his servants. 

When he had thus made his preparations and was now 
resolved upon death, learning from a disturbance which mean- 
time arose that those who were beginning to depart and leave 
the camp were being seized and detained as deserters, he said 
"Let us add this one more night to our life" (these were his 
very words), and he forbade the offering of violence to any 
one. Leaving the door of his bedroom open until a late hour, 
he gave the privilege of speaking with him to all who wished 
to come in. After that quenching his thirst with a draught of 
cold water, he took up two daggers, and having tried the 
point of both of them, put one under his pillow. Then closing 
the doors, he slept very soundly. When he at last woke up at 
about daylight, he stabbed himself with a single stroke undei 
the left breast. Alternately concealing the wound and exposing 
it to those who rushed in at his first groan, he breathed his last 
and was hastily buried (for such were his orders) in the thirty- 
eighth year of his age and on the ninety-fifth day of his reign. 

Neither Otho's person nor his bearing suggested such great 
courage. He is said to have been of moderate height, splay- 
footed and bandy-legged, but almost feminine in his care of 
his person. He had the hair of his body plucked out, and be- 
cause of the thinness of his locks wore a wig so carefully 
fashioned and fitted to his head, that no one suspected it 
Moreover, they say that he used to shave every day and 
smear his face with moist bread, beginning the practice with 
the appearance of the first down, so as never to have a beard; 
also that he used to celebrate the rites of Isis publicly in the 
linen garment prescribed by the cult. I am inclined to think 
that it was because of these habits that a death so little in 
harmony with his life excited the greater marvel. 1 Many of 

1 A saying persisted for many years that "*one ever died like Otho." 


the soldiers who were present Kissed his hands and feet as he 
lay dead, weeping bitterly and calling him the bravest of men 
and an incomparable Emperor, and then at once slew them* 
selves beside his bier. Many of those who were absent too, on 
receiving the news attacked and killed one another from 
sheer grief. In short the greater part of those who had hated 
him most bitterly while he lived lauded him to the skies when 
he was dead. It was even commonly declared that he had put 
an end to Galba, not so much for the sake of ruling, as of 
restoring the republic and liberty. 


OF the origin of the Vitellian family different and widely 
varying accounts are given, some saying that the family 
was ancient and noble, others that it was new and obscure, 
if not of mean extraction. I should believe that these came 
respectively from the flatterers and detractors of the Em- 
peror, were it not for a difference of opinion about the 
standing of the family at a considerably earlier date. 

We have a book of Quintus Elogius addressed to Quintus 
Vitellius, Quaestor of the Deified Augustus, in which it is 
written that the Vitellii were sprung from Faunus, 1 King 
of the Aborigines, and Vitellia, who was worshiped as a 
Goddess in many places; and that they ruled in all Latium. 
That the surviving members of the 'family moved from the 
Sabine district to Rome and were enrolled among the 
patricians. That traces of this stock endured long afterwards 
in the Vitellian Road, running from the Janiculum all the 
way to the sea, as well as in a colony of the same name, which 
in ancient days the family had asked the privilege of defend- 
ing against the Aequicoli with troops raised from their own 
family. That when afterwards a force was sent into Apulia 
at the time of the Samnite war, some of the Vitellii settled at 
Nuceria, and that after a long time their descendants returned 
to the city and resumed their place in the senatorial order. 

On the other hand several have written that the founder of 
the family was a freedman, while Cassius Severus and others 
as well say further that he was a cobbler, and that his son, 
after making a considerable fortune from the sale of con- 
fiscated estates and the profession of informer, married a 
common strumpet, daughter of one Antiochus who kept a 
bakery, and became the father of a Roman Knight. But this 
difference of opinion may be left unsettled. 

* Third legendary King of Italy, identified with the Greek Pan. 



In any event Publius Vitellius of Nuceria, 1 whether of 
ancient stock or of parents and forefathers in whom he could 
take ho pride, was unquestionably a Roman Knight and a 
steward of Augustus' property. He left four sons of high 
rank with the same name and differing only in their fore- 
names: Aulus, Quintus, Publius and Lucius. Aulus, who was 
given to luxury and especially notorious for the magnificence 
of his feasts, died a Consul, appointed to the office with 
Domitius, father of the Emperor Nero. Quintus lost his 
rank at the time when it was resolved, at the suggestion of 
Tiberius, to depose and get rid of undesirable Senators. 
Publius, a member of Germanicus* staff, arraigned Gnaeus 
Piso, the enemy and murderer of his commander, and secured 
his condemnation. Arrested among the accomplices of Sejanus, 
after holding the praetorship, and handed over to his own 
brother to be kept in confinement, he opened his veins with 
a penknife, but allowed himself to be bandaged and restored, 
not so much from unwillingness to die, as because of the 
entreaties of his friends; and he met a natural death while 
still in confinement. Lucius attained the consulate and then 
was made Governor of Syria, 2 where with supreme diplomacy 
he not only induced Artabanus, King of the Parthians, to 
hold a conference with him, but even to do obeisance to the 
standards of the legion. Later he held, with the Emperor 
Claudius, two more regular consulships and the censorship. 
He also bore the charge of the empire while Claudius was 
away on his expedition to Britain. He was an honest and 
active man, but of very ill repute because of his passion for 
a freedwoman, which went so far that he used her spittle 
mixed with honey to rub on his throat and jaws as a medi- 
cine, not secretly nor seldom, but openly and every day. He 
had also a wonderful gift for flattery and was the first to 
begin to worship Gaius Caesar 8 as a God. For on his return 
from Syria he did not presume to approach the Emperor 
except with veiled head, turning himself about and then 
prostrating himself. To neglect no means of gaining the 
favor of Claudius, who was a slave to his wives and freed* 

1 Modern Nocera, near Salerno. 

2 Josephus frequently commends him for his kindness to the Jews. 
8 Caligula. 


men, he begged of Messalina as the highest possible favor 
that she would allow him to take off her shoes. When he 
had done this he took her right slipper and constantly car- 
ried it about between his toga and his tunic, and sometimes 
kissed it. Narcissus also and Pallas he honored by cherish- 
ing their images among his household Gods. It was he who 
made the famous remark, "May you often do it," when he 
was congratulating Claudius at the celebration of the Secular 
games. 1 

He died of a paralytic stroke on the second day after he 
was seized, leaving two sons, begotten of Sestilia, a most 
worthy woman and of no mean family, and having lived to 
see them Consuls both in the same year, and for the whole 
year, since the younger succeeded the elder for six months. 
On his decease the Senate honored him with a public funeral 
and with a statue on the rostra with this inscription: "Of 
unwavering loyalty to his Emperor." 

The Emperor Aulus Vitellius, son of Lucius, was born on 
the eighth day before the Kalends of October, or according 
to some, on the seventh day before the Ides of September, 
in the consulship of Drusus Caesar and Norbanus Flaccus. 2 
His parents were so aghast at his horoscope as announced by 
the astrologers, that his father tried his utmost, while he 
lived, to prevent the assignment of any province to his son, 
and when he was sent to the legions and hailed as Emperor, 
his mother immediately mourned over him as lost. He spent 
his boyhood and early youth at Capri among the pathics 
of Tiberius, being branded for all time with the nickname 
Spintria 8 and suspected of having been the means of his 
father's first advancement at the expense of his own chastity. 

Stained by every sort of baseness as he advanced in years, 
he held a prominent place at court, winning the intimacy of 
Gaius 4 by his devotion to chariot-driving and of Claudius 

1 Everybody else was amused on this occasion (related in Claudius,) 
because Claudius announced a new series of entertainments whereas 
people remembered Augustus had given the same sort before. 

2 The year after Augustus' death. Vitellius was thus seventeen years 
older than Otho. 

8 Concerning whom see Tiberius. 
* Caligula. 


by his passion for dice. But he was still dearer to Nero, not 
only because of these same qualities, but because of a special 
service besides. For when he was presiding at the contests 
of the Neronia and Nero wished to compete among the lyre- 
players, but did not venture to do so although there was a 
general demand for him and accordingly left the theater, 
Vitellius called him back, alleging that he came as an envoy 
from the insistent people, and thus gave Nero a chance to 
yield to their entreaties. 

Having in this way through the favor of three Emperors 
been honored not only with political positions but with dis- 
tinguished priesthoods as well, he afterwards governed Africa 
as Proconsul and served as curator of public works, but with 
varying purpose and reputation. In his province he showed 
exceptional integrity for two successive years, for he served 
as deputy to his brother, who succeeded him. But in his city 
offices he was said to have stolen some of the offerings and 
ornaments from the temples and changed others, substituting 
tin and brass for gold and silver. 

He had to wife Petronia, daughter of an ex-consul, and by 
her a son Petronianus, who was blind in one eye. Since this 
son was named as his mother's heir on condition of being 
freed from his father's authority, he manumitted him, but 
shortly afterwards killed him, according to the general be- 
lief, charging him besides with attempted parricide, and 
alleging that he had, from consciousness of his guilt, drunk 
the poison which he had mixed for his father. Soon after- 
wards he married Galeria Fundana, daughter of an ex- 
praetor, and from her too he had a son and a daughter, but 
the former stammered so, that he was all but dumb and 

Galba surprised every one by sending him to Lower Ger- 
many. Some think that it was due to Titus Vinius, who had 
great influence at the time, and whose friendship Vitellius 
had long since won through their common support of the 
Blues. 1 But since Galba openly declared that no men were 
less to be feared than those who thought of nothing but 
eating, and that Vitellius's bottomless gullet might be filled 

1 A faction in the Circus. 


from the resources of the province, it is clear to any one that 
he was chosen rather through contempt than favor. It is 
aotorious that when he was about to start, he lacked means 
for his traveling expenses, and that his need of funds was 
such, that after consigning his wife and children, whom he 
left in Rome, to a hired garret, he let his house for the rest of 
the year ; and that he took a valuable pearl from his mother's 
ear and pawned it, to defray the expenses of his journey. He 
had to resort to false accusation to get rid of the throng 
of creditors that lay in wait for him and tried to detain him. 
Among them were the people of Sinuessa and of Formiae, 
whose public revenues he had embezzled. These he terrified 
with false accusations. Against one of them, a freedman who 
was somewhat persistent in demanding what was due to him, 
he brought an action for damages, alleging that he had been 
kicked by him, and would not let him off until he had squeezed 
him to the tune of fifty thousand sesterces. 1 

On his arrival the army, which was disaffected towards the 
Emperor and inclined to mutiny, received him gladly with 
open arms, as if he had come to them as a gift from the 
Gods; since he was the son of a man who had thrice been 
Consul, in the prime of life, and of an easy-going and lavish 
disposition. This earlier good opinion Vitellius had also 
strengthened by recent acts, for throughout the march he 
kissed even the common soldiers whom he met, and at the 
posthouses and inns he was unusually affable to the mule 
drivers and travelers, asking each of them in the morning 
whether they had breakfasted and even showing by belching 
that he had done so. 

As soon as he entered the camp, he granted every request 
that any one made and even of his own accord freed those in 
disgrace from their penalties, defendants of suits from their 
mourning, 2 and the convicted from punishment. Therefore 
hardly a month had passed, when the soldiers, regardless of 
the hour, for it was already evening, hastily took him from 
his bedroom, just as he was, in his common houseclothes, and 
hailed him as Emperor. Then he was carried about the most 

1 $2,050.00. 

2 Defendants in law suits had to wear mourning in public. 


populous villages, holding a drawn sword of the Deified 
Julius, which some one had taken from a shrine of Mars and 
handed him during the first congratulations. He did not 
return to headquarters until the dining-room caught fire from 
the stove and was ablaze. And then, when all were shocked 
and troubled at what seemed a bad omen, he said: "Be of 
good cheer; to us light is given." This was his only address 
to the soldiers. When he presently received the support of 
the army of the upper province too, which had previously 
transferred its allegiance from Galba to the Senate, he eagerly 
accepted the surname of Germanicus, which was unanimously 
offered him, put off accepting the title of Augustus, and for- 
ever refused that of Caesar. 

Then hearing of the murder of Galba, he settled affairs in 
Germany and made two divisions of his forces, one to send 
on against Otho, and the other to lead in person. The former 
was greeted with a lucky omen at the start, for an eagle sud- 
denly flew towards them from the right and after hovering 
about the standards, slowly preceded their line of march. 
But, on the contrary, when he himself began his advance, the 
equestrian statues which were being set up everywhere in his 
honor on a sudden all collapsed with broken legs, and the 
laurel crown which he had put on with due ceremony fell 
into a running stream. Later, as he was sitting in judgment 
on the tribunal at Vienna, 1 a cock perched on his shoulder 
and then on his head. And the outcome corresponded with 
these omens, for he was not by his own efforts able to retain 
the power which his lieutenants secured for him. 

He heard of the victory at Betriacum and of the death of 
Otho when he was s*iU in Gaul, and without delay by a single 
edict he disbanded aU the praetorian cohorts, as having set 
a pernicious example, 2 and bade them hand over their arms 
to their Tribunes. Furthermore, he gave orders that one 
hundred and twenty of them should be hunted up and pun- 
ished, having found petitions which they had written to Otho, 
asking for a reward for services rendered in connection with 
Galba's murder. These acts were altogether admirable and 

1 Modern Vienne, near Lyons, in France, 

2 In deserting Galba for Otho. 


noble, and such as to give hope that he would be a great 
prince, had it not been that the rest of his conduct was more 
in harmony with his natural disposition and his former habits 
of life than with imperial dignity. For when he had begun his 
march, he rode through the middle of the cities like a triumph- 
ing general, and on the rivers he sailed in most exquisite 
craft wreathed with various kinds of garlands, amid lavish 
entertainments, with no discipline among his household or 
the soldiers, making a jest of the pillage and wantonness of 
all his followers. For not content with the banquets which 
were furnished them everywhere at public expense, they set 
free whatever slaves they pleased, promptly paying those 
who remonstrated with blows and stripes, often with wounds, 
and sometimes with death. When he came to the plains where 
the battle was fought and some shuddered with horror at the 
moldering corpses, he had the audacity to encourage them 
by the abominable saying, that the odor of a dead enemy 
was sweet and that of a fellow-citizen sweeter still. But 
nevertheless, the better to bear the awful stench, he openly 
drained a great draught of unmixed wine and distributed 
some among the troops. With equal bad taste and arrogance, 
gazing upon the stone inscribed to the memory of Otho, he 
declared that he deserved such a Mausoleum, and sent the 
dagger with which his rival had killed himself to the Colony 
of Agrippina, 1 to be dedicated to Mars. He also held an all- 
night festival on the heights of the Apennines. 

Finally he entered the city to the sound of the trumpet, 
wearing a general's mantle and a sword at his side, amid 
standards and banners, with his staff in military cloaks and 
his troops with drawn swords. 

Then showing greater and greater disregard for the laws 
of Gods and r^n, he assumed the office of high priest on the 
day of Allia,- held elections for ten years to come, and made 
himself Consul for life. And to leave no doubt in any one's 
mind what model he chose for the government of the State, 

1 Modern Cologne, birthplace of Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus, 
wife of Nero. 

1 July 17, an especially unlucky day because it was the annivarsary 
of the great victory of the Gauls near the river Allia in 390 B.C., after 
which they sacked Rome. 


he made funerary offerings to Nero in the middle of the 
Campus Martius, attended by a great throng of the official 
priests. When at the accompanying banquet a flute-player 
was received with applause, he openly urged him "to render 
something from the Master's Book * as well." And when he 
began the songs of Nero, Vitellius was the first to applaud 
him and even jumped for joy. 

Beginning in this way, he regulated the greater part of his 
rule wholly according to the advice and whims of the com- 
monest of actors and chariot-drivers, and in particular of 
his freedman Asiaticus. This fellow had immoral relations with 
Vitellius in his youth, but later grew weary of him and ran 
away. When Vitellius came upon him selling posca 2 at 
Puteoli, he put him in irons, but at once freed him again 
and made him his favorite. His vexation was renewed by the 
man's excessive insolence and thievishness, and he sold him 
to an itinerant keeper of gladiators. When, however, he was 
once reserved for the end of a gladiatorial show, Vitellius 
suddenly spirited him away, and finally, when the man had 
reached his province, set him free. On the first day of his 
reign he presented him with the golden ring at a banquet, 
although in the morning, when there was a general demand 
that Asiaticus be given that honor, he had deprecated in the 
strongest terms such a blot on the equestrian order. 

But his besetting sins were luxury and cruelty. He divided 
his feasts into three, sometimes into four a day, breakfast, 8 
luncheon, dinner, and a drinking bout. And he was readily 
able to do justice to all of them through his habit of taking 
emetics. Moreover, he had himself invited to each of these 
meals by different men on the same day, and the materials 
for any one of them never cost less than four hundred thousand 
sesterces. 4 Most notorious of all was the dinner given by his 
brother to celebrate the Emperor's arrival in Rome, at which 
two thousand of the choicest fishes and seven thousand birds 
are said to have been served. He himself eclipsed even this 

1 Hie name applied to a collection of Nero's compositions. 

2 Sour wine or vinegar mixed with water. The common drink of the 
Roman soldier. 

8 Ordinarily a very light meal. 
4 $16400.00. 


at the dedication of a platter, which on account of its enor- 
mous size he called the "Shield of Minerva, Defender of the 
City." In this he mingled the livers of pike, the brains of 
pheasants and peacocks, the tongues of flamingoes and the 
milt of lampreys, brought by his captains and triremes from 
the whole empire, from Parthia to the Spanish Strait. Being 
besides a man of an appetite that was not only boundless, 
but also regardless of time or decency, he could never refrain, 
even when he was sacrificing or making a journey, from 
snatching bits of meat and cakes amid the altars, almost from 
the very fire, and devouring them on the spot; and in the 
cookshops along the road, viands smoking hot or even those 
left over from the day before and partly consumed. 

He delighted in inflicting death and torture on any one 
whatsoever and for any cause whatever, putting to death 
several men of rank, fellow students and comrades of his, 
whom he had solicited to come to court by every kind of 
deception, all but offering them a share in the rule. This he 
did in various treacherous ways, even giving poison to one 
of them with his own hand in a glass of cold water, for which 
the man had called when ill of a fever. Besides he spared 
hardly one of the money-lenders, contractors, and tax-gath- 
erers who had ever demanded of him the payment of a debt 
at Rome or of a toll on a journey. One of these, while in the 
very act of saluting him, he sent off to be executed, but im- 
mediately recalled, and, as all were praising his mercy, gave 
orders to have him killed in his presence, saying that he 
wished to feast his eyes. In another case he had two sons 
who attempted to intercede for their father put to death with 
him. A Roman Knight also, who cried as he was being taken 
off to execution, "You are my heir," he compelled to show 
his will. Reading that one of the man's freedmen was put 
down as joint-heir with himself, he ordered the death both 
of the Knight and the freedman. He even killed some of the 
common people, merely because they had openly spoken ill 
of the Blue faction, thinking that they had ventured to do 
this from contempt of himself and in anticipation of a change 
of rulers. But he was especially hostile to writers of lampoons 
and to astrologers, and whenever any one of them was accused, 
he put him to death without trial, particularly incensed be- 


cause after a proclamation of his in which he ordered the 
astrologers to leave the city and Italy before the Kalends of 
October, a placard was at once posted, reading: "By procla- 
mation of the Chaldeans, God bless the State! Before the same 
day and date Vitellius Germanicus shall not be living any- 
where." Moreover, when his mother died, he was suspected 
of having forbidden her being given food when she was ill, 
because a woman of the Chatti, 1 in whom he believed as he 
would in an oracle, prophesied that he would rule securely 
and for a long time, but only if he should survive his parent. 
Others say that through weariness of present evils and fear 
of those which threatened, she asked poison of her son, and 
obtained it with no great difficulty. 

In the eighth month of his reign the armies of the Moesian 
provinces and Pannonia revolted from him, and also in the 
provinces beyond the seas those of Judaea and Syria, the 
former swearing allegiance to Vespasian in his absence and 
the latter in his presence. Therefore, to retain the devotion 
and favor of the rest of the people, there was nothing that 
he did not lavish publicly and privately, without any limit 
whatever. He also held a levy in the city, promising those 
who volunteered not only their discharge upon his victory 
but also the rewards and privileges given to veterans after 
their regular term of service. Later, when his enemies were 
pressing him hard by land and sea, he opposed to them in 
one quarter his brother with a fleet manned by raw recruits 
and a band of gladiators, and in another the forces and leaders 
who had fought at Betriacum. And after he was everywhere 
either worsted or betrayed, he made a bargain with Flavius 
Sabinus, the brother of Vespasian, that he should have his 
own life and a hundred million sesterces. 1 Thereupon he im- 
mediately declared from the steps of the palace before his 
assembled soldiers, that he withdrew from the rule which had 
been given him against his will. But when all cried out against 
this, he postponed the matter, and after a night had passed, 
went at daybreak to the rostra in mourning garb and with 

1 The Chatti were a German tribe inhabiting what is now Hesse. The 
Germans had great confidence in the prophetical utterances of the 
women of this tribe. 

1 $4,100,000.00. 


many tears made the same declaration, but from a written 
document. When the people and soldiers again interrupted 
him and besought him not to lose heart, vying with one an- 
other in promising him all their efforts in his behalf, he again 
took courage and by a sudden onslaught drove Sabinus and 
the rest of the Flavians, who no longer feared an attack, into 
the Capitol. Then he set fire to the temple of Jupiter Optimus 
Maximus and destroyed them, viewing the battle and the fire 
from the house of Tiberius, where he was feasting. Not long 
afterwards he repented of his action and, throwing the blame 
upon others, called an assembly and took oath, compelling 
the rest to do the same, that there was nothing for which 
he would strive more earnestly than for the public peace 
Then he took a dagger from his side and offered it first to the 
Consul, and when he refused it, to the magistrates, and then 
to the Senators, one by one. 1 When no one would take it, 
he went off as if he would place it in the temple of Concord 
but when some cried out that he himself was Concord, he re- 
turned and declared that he would not only retain the steel but 
would also adopt the surname Concordia. 

He also persuaded the Senate to send envoys with the 
Vestal Virgins, to sue for peace or at least to gain time for 

The following day, as he was waiting for a reply, word was 
brought by a scout that the enemy was drawing near. Then 
he was at once hurried into a sedan with only two com- 
panions, a baker and a cook, and secretly went to his father's 
house on the Aventine, intending to flee from there to Cam- 
pania. Presently, on a slight and dubious rumor that peace 
had been granted, he allowed himself to be taken back to the 
palace. Finding everything abandoned there, and that even 
those who were with him were stealing away, he put on a 
girdle filled wtih gold pieces and took refuge in the lodge 
of the door-keeper, tying a dog before the door and putting 
a couch and a mattress against it. 

The foremost of the army had now forced their way in, and 
since no one opposed them, were ransacking everything in 

1 As though he were willing to renounce the power of life and death 
over the people. 


the usual way. They dragged Vitellius from his hiding-place 
and when they asked him his name (for they did not know 
him) and if he knew where Vitellius was, he attempted to 
escape them by a lie. Being soon recognized, he did not cease 
to beg that he be confined for a time, even in the prison, 
alleging that he had something to say of importance to the 
safety of Vespasian. But they bound his arms behind his 
back, put a noose about his neck, and dragged him with 
rent garments and half-naked to the Forum. All along the 
Sacred Way he was greeted with mockery and abuse, his 
head held back by the hair, as is common with criminals, 
and even the point of a sword placed under his chin, so that 
he could not look down but must let his face be seen. Some 
pelted him with dung and ordure, others called him in- 
cendiary and glutton, and some of the mob even taunted him 
with his bodily defects. He was in fact abnormally tall, with 
a face usually flushed from hard drinking, a huge belly, and 
one -thigh crippled from being struck once upon a time by a 
four-horse chariot, when he was in attendance on Gaius * 
as he was driving. At last on the Stairs of Wailing he was 
tortured for a long time and then dispatched and dragged 
off with a hook to the Tiber. 

He met his death, along with his brother and his son, 2 in 
the fifty-seventh year of his age, fulfilling the prediction of 
those who had declared from an omen which befell him at 
Vienna, as we have stated, 8 that he was destined to fall into 
the power of some man of Gaul. For he was slain by Antonius 
Primus, a leader of the opposing faction, who was born at 
Tolosa and in his youth bore the surname Becco, which 
means a rooster's beak. 

1 Caligula. 

2 Lucius and Germanicus were slain near Terracina. Lucius was 
marching to his brother's relief. 

* Suetonius earlier told of the cock, gaUus in Latin, which perched 
on his head. 




THE empire, which for a long time had been unsettled and ? 
as it were, drifting, through the usurpation and violent death 
of three Emperors, was at last taken in hand and given 
stability by the Flavian family. This house was, ft is true, 
obscure and without family portraits, yet it was one of 
which our country had no reason whatever to be ashamed, 
ever* though it is the general opinion that the penalty which 
Domitian paid for his avarice and cruelty was fully merited. 

Titus Flavius Petro, a burgher of Reate and during the 
civil war a Centurion or a volunteer veteran on Pompey's side, 
fled from the field of Pharsalus and went home, where after at 
last obtaining pardon and an honorable discharge, he carried 
on the business of a collector of moneys. His son, surnamed 
Sabinus (although some say that he was an ex-centurion of 
the first grade, others that while still in command of a cohort 
he was retired because of ill-health), took no part in military 
life, but was a common collector in Asia of the two and a 
half per cent tax on imports and exports. And there existed 
for some time statues erected in his honor by the cities of 
Asia, inscribed "To an honest tax-gatherer." Later he car- 
ried on a banking business in the Helvetian country and 
there he died, survived by his wife, Vespasia Polla, and by 
two of her children, of whom the elder, Sabinus, rose to the 
rank of Prefect of Rome and the younger, Vespasian, even 
to that of Emperor. Polla, who was born of an honorable 
family at Nursia, had for father Vespasius Pollio, thrice 
Tribune of the soldiers and- Prefect of the camp, while her 
brother became a Senator with the rank of Praetor. There is 
moreover on the top of a mountain, near the sixth milestone 
on the road from Nursia to Spoletium, a place called Ves- 
pasiae, where many monuments of the Vespasii are to be 
seen, affording strong proof of the renown and antiquity of 



the house. I ought to add that some have bandied about the 
report, that Petro's father came from the region beyond the 
Po and was a contractor for the day -laborers who come regu- 
larly every year from Umbria to the Sabine district, to till the 
fields; but that he settled in the town of Reate and there 
married. Personally I have found no evidence whatever of 
this, in spite of rather careful investigation. 

Vespasian was born in the Sabine country, in a small vil- 
lage beyond Reate, called Falacrina, on the evening of the 
fifteenth day before the Kalends of December, in the con- 
sulate of Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Gaius Poppaeus 
Sabinus, five years before the death of Augustus. He was 
brought up under the care of his paternal grandmother Ter- 
tulla on her estates at Cosa. Therefore even after he became 
Emperor he used constantly to visit the home of his infancy, 
where the manor house was kept in its original condition, 
since he did not wish to miss anything which he was wont to 
see there. And he was so devoted to his grandmother's mem- 
ory, that on religious and festival days he always drank from 
a little silver cup that had belonged to her. 

After assuming the garb of manhood he for a long time 
made no attempt to win the broad stripe of Senator, though 
his brother had gained it, and only his mother could finally 
induce him to sue for it. She at length drove him to it, but 
rather by sarcasm than by entreaties or parental authority, 
since she constantly taunted him with being his brother's 

He served in Thrace as Tribune of the soldiers. As Quaestor 
he was assigned by lot the province of Crete and Cyrene. He 
became a candidate for the aedileship and then for the 
praetorship, attaining the former only after one defeat and 
then barely landing in the sixth place, but the latter on his 
first canvass and among the foremost. In his praetorship, to 
lose no opportunity of winning t the favor of Caligula, whc 
was at odds with the Senate, he asked for special games be- 
cause of the Emperor's victory in Germany and recom- 
mended as an additional punishment of the conspirators 1 that 
they be cast out unburied. He also thanked the Emperor be* 

1 Lepidus and Gaetulicus. 


fore that illustrious body because he had deigned to honor 
him with an invitation to dinner. 

Meanwhile he took to wife Flavia Domitilla, formerly the 
mistress of Statilius Capella, a Roman Knight of Sabrata in 
Africa, a woman who at first had only partial citizenship but 
was afterwards declared a freeborn citizen of Rome in a suit 
before arbiters, brought by her father Flavius Liberalis, a 
native of Ferentum and merely a Quaestor's clerk. By her he 
had three children, Titus, Domitian, and Domitilla. He out- 
lived his wife and daughter; in fact lost them both before he 
became Emperor. After the death of his wife he resumed his 
relations with Caenis, freedwoman and amanuensis of An- 
tonia, and formerly his mistress; and even after he became 
Emperor he treated her almost as a lawful wife. 

In the reign of Claudius he was sent in command of a 
legion to Germany, through the influence of Narcissus. From 
there he was transferred to Britain, where he fought thirty 
battles with the enemy. He reduced to subjection two power- 
ful nations, more than twenty towns, and the island of Vec- 
tis, 1 near Britain, partly under the leadership of Aulus Plau- 
tius, the Consular Governor, and partly under that of Claudius 
himself. For this he received the triumphal regalia, and 
shortly after two priesthoods, besides the consulship, which 
he held for the last two months of the year. The rest of the 
time up to his proconsulate he spent in rest and retirement, 
through fear of Agrippina, who still had a strong influence over 
her son and hated any friend of Narcissus, even after the 
latter's death. 

The chance of the lot then gave him Africa, which he gov- 
erned with great justice and high honor, save that in a riot 
at Hadrumetum he was pelted with turnips. Certain it is that 
he came back none the richer, for his credit was so nearly 
gone that he mortgaged all his estates to his brother, and had 
to resort to trading in mules to keep up his position ; whence 
he was commonly known as "the Muleteer." He is also said 
to have been found guilty of squeezing two hundred thousand 
sesterces 2 out of a young man for whom he obtained the 

i The Isle of Wight. 

* $8)200.00. 


broad stripe 1 against his father's wish, and to have been 
severely rebuked in consequence. 

On the tour through Greece, among the companions of 
Nero, he bitterly offended the Emperor by either going out 
often while Nero was singing, or falling asleep, if he re- 
mained. Being in consequence banished, not only from in- 
timacy with the Emperor but even from his public receptions, 
he withdrew to a little out-of-the-way town, hiding in fear of 
his life till a province and an army were offered him. 

There had spread over all the Orient an old and established 
belief, that it was fated at that time for men coming from 
Judaea to rule the world. 2 This prediction, referring to the 
Emperor of Rome, as afterwards appeared from the event, 
the people of Judaea took to themselves. Accordingly, they 
revolted, and, after killing their Governor, they routed the 
consular ruler of Syria as well, when he came to the rescue, 
and took one of his eagles. Since to put down this rebellion 
required a considerable army with a leader of no little enter- 
prise, yet one to whom so great power could be entrusted 
without risk, Vespasian was choseli for the task, both as a 
man of tried energy and as one in no wise to be feared be- 
cause of the obscurity of his family and name. Therefore 
there were added to the forces in Judaea two legions with 
eight divisions of cavalry and ten cohorts. He took his elder 
son as one of his lieutenants, and as soon as he reached his 
province he attracted the attention of the neighboring prov- 
inces also. For he at once reformed the discipline of the 
army and fought one or two battles with such daring, that in 
the storming of a fortress he was wounded in the knee with 
a stone and received several arrows in his shield. 

While Otho and Vitellius were fighting for the throne after 
the death of Nero and Galba, he began to cherish the hope 
of imperial dignity, which he had long since conceived be- 
cause of the following portents: 

On the suburban estate of the Flavii an old oak tree, 
which was sacred to Mars, on each of the three occasions 
when Vespasia was delivered suddenly put forth a branch 

1 Symbol of the senatorial order. 

'Tacitus (Histories V, 13) mentions this prediction in nearly the 
tame terms, referring also in the plural number to the coming power. 


from its trunk, obvious indications of the destiny of each 
child. The first was slender and quickly withered, and so too 
the girl that was born died within the year. The second was 
very strong and long and portended great success. But the 
third was the image of a tree. Therefore their father, Sabinus, 
so they say, being further encouraged by an inspection of 
victims, announced to his mother that a grandson had been 
born to her who would be a Caesar. But she only laughed, 
marveling that her son should already be in his dotage, while 
she was still of strong mind. 

Later, when Vespasian was Aedile, Gaius Caesar, incensed 
at his neglect of his duty of cleaning the streets, ordered that 
he be covered with mud, which the soldiers accordingly heaped 
into the bosom of his purple-bordered toga. This some inter- 
preted as an omen that one day in some civil commotion his 
country, trampled under foot and forsaken, would come under 
his protection and as it were into his embrace. 

Once when he was taking breakfast, a stray dog brought in 
a human hand from the cross-roads and dropped it under the 
table. Again, when he wie dining, an ox that was plowing 
shook off its yoke, burst into the dining-room, and after scat- 
tering the servants, fell at the very feet of Vespasian as he re- 
clined at table, and bowed its neck as if suddenly tired out. 
A cypress tree, also, on his grandfather's farm was torn up by 
the roots, without the agency of any violent storm, and thrown 
down, and on the following day rose again greener and stronger 
than before. 

He dreamed in Greece that the beginning of good fortune 
for himself and his family would come as soon as Nero had a 
tooth extracted. And on the next day it came to pass that a 
physician walked into the hall and showed him a tooth which 
he had just then taken out. 

When he consulted the oracle of the God of Carmel in 
Judaea, the lots were highly encouraging, promising that what- 
ever he planned or wished, however great it might be, would 
come to pass. And one of his high-born prisoners, Josephus * 

1 The famous Pharisean historian who was an important and romantic 
figure in Vespasian's and Titus's struggles with the Jews. He describes 
Jesus as "a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man/ 1 asserting 
"This was the Christ." This is the most definite reference we have to the 
founder of Christianity. 


by name, as he was being put in chains, declared most con- 
fidently that he would soon be released by the same man, who 
would then, however, be Emperor. Omens were also reported 
from Rome: Nero in his latter days was admonished in a 
dream to take the sacred chariot of Jupiter Optimus Maximus 
from its shrine to the house of Vespasian and from there to 
the Circus. Not long after this, too, when Galba was on his 
way to the elections which gave him his second consulship, a 
statue of the Deified Julius of its own accord turned towards 
the East. And on the field of Betriacum, before the battle 
began, two eagles fought in the sight of all, and when one was 
vanquished, a third came from the direction of the rising sun 
and drove off the victor. 

Yet he made no move, although his followers were quite 
ready and even urgent, until he was roused to it by the acci- 
dental support of men unknown to him and at a distance. Two 
thousand soldiers of the three legions that made up the army 
in Moesia had been sent to help Otho. When word came to 
them after they had begun their march that he had been de- 
feated and had taken his own life,%hey none the less kept on 
as far as Aquileia, because they did not believe the report. 
There, taking advantage of the lawless state of the times, they 
indulged in every kind of pillage. Then, fearing that if they 
went back, they would have to give an account and suffer pun- 
ishment, they took it into their heads to select and appoint an 
Emperor, saying that they were just as good as the Spanish 
army which had appointed Galba, or the praetorian guard 
which had elected Otho, or the German army which had chosen 
Vitellius. Accordingly the names of all the Consular Governors 
who were serving anywhere were taken up, and since objection 
was made to the rest for one reason or another, while some 
members of the third legion, which had been transferred from 
Syria to Moesia just before the death of Nero, highly com- 
mended Vespasian, they unanimously agreed on him and 
forthwith inscribed his name on all their banners. At the time, 
however, the movement was checked and the soldiers re- 
called to their allegiance for a season. But when their action 
became known, Tiberius Alexander, Prefect of Egypt, was the 
first to compel his legions to take the oath for Vespasian on the 
Kalends of July, the day which was afterwards celebrated as 


that of his accession. Then the army in Judaea swore allegiance 
to him personally on the fifth day before the Ides of July. 

The enterprise was greatly forwarded by the circulation of 
a copy of a letter of the late Emperor Otho to Vespasian, 
whether genuine or forged, urging him with the utmost earnest- 
ness to vengeance and expressing the hope that he would come 
to the aid of his country ; further, by a rumor which spread 
abroad that Vitellius had planned, after his victory, to change 
the winter quarters of the legions and to transfer those in Ger- 
many to the Orient, to a safer and milder service; and finally, 
by the support of Licinius Mucianus, 1 among the Governors 
of the provinces, and among the Kings, by that of Vologaesus, 
the Parthian. The former, laying aside the hostility with which 
up to that time jealousy had obviously inspired him, promised 
the Syrian army, and the latter forty thousand bowmen. 

Therefore beginning a civil war and sending ahead general? 
with troops to Italy, he crossed meanwhile to Alexandria, to 
take possession of the key to Egypt. There he dismissed all hi? 
attendants and entered the temple of Serapis alone, to consult 
the auspices as to the duration of his power. And when after 
many propitiatory offerings to the God he at length turned 
about, it seemed to him that his freedman Basilides offered him 
sacred boughs, garlands and loaves, as is the custom there. 
And yet he knew well that no one had let him in, and that for 
some time he had been hardly able to walk by reason of rheu- 
matism, and was besides far away. And immediately letters 
came with the news that Vitellius had been routed at Cremona 
and the Emperor himself slain at Rome. 

Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so 
to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made Em- 
peror. But these also were given him. A man of the people 
who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him to- 
gether as he sat on the tribunal, begging for the help for their 
disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream. For the 
God declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he 
would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would 
deign to touch it with his heel. Though he had hardly any 
faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank 

* Governor of the neighboring province of Syria. 


even from making the attempt, he was at last prevailed upon 
by his friends and tried both things in public before a large 
crowd; and with success. At this same time, by the direction 
of certain soothsayers, some vases of antique workmanship 
were dug up in a consecrated spot at Tegea in Arcadia and 
among them was an image very like Vespasian. 

Returning to Rome under such auspices and attended by 
so great renown, after celebrating a triumph over the Jews, 
he added eight consulships to his former one, and also as- 
sumed the censorship. During the whole period of his rule 
he considered nothing more essential than first to strengthen 
the State, which was tottering and almost overthrown, and 
then to embellish it as well. 

The soldiery, some emboldened by their victory and some 
resenting their humiliating defeat, had abandoned themselves 
to every form of license and recklessness. The provinces, too, 
and the free cities, as well as some of the kingdoms, were in a 
state of internal dissension. Therefore he discharged many 
of the soldiers of Vitellius and punished many. But so far 
from showing any special indulgence to those who had shared 
in his victory, he was even tardy in paying them their lawful 
rewards. To let slip no opportunity of improving military dis- 
cipline, when a young man reeking with perfumes came to 
thank him for a commission which had been given him, Ves- 
pasian drew back his head in disgust, adding the stern repri- 
mand: "I would rather you had smelt of garlic"; and he 
revoked the appointment. When the marines who march on 
foot by turns from Ostia and Puteoli to Rome, asked that an 
allowance be made them under the head of shoe money, not 
content with sending them away without a reply, he ordered 
that in future they should make the run barefooted. And they 
have done so ever since. 

He made provinces of Achaia, Lycia, Rhodes, Byzantium 
and Samos, taking away their freedom, and likewise of 
Trachian Cilicia and Commagene, which up to that time had 
been ruled by Kings. He sent legions to Cappadocia because 
of the constant inroads of the barbarians, and gave it a con* 
sular Governor in place of a Roman Knight. 

As the city was unsightly from former fires and fallen build- 
ings, he allowed any one to take possession of vacant sites 


and build upon them, in case the owners failed to do so. He be- 
gan the restoration of the Capitol in person, was the first to 
lend a hand in clearing away the debris, and carried some of 
it off on his own head. He undertook to restore the three thou- 
sand bronze tablets which were destroyed with the temple, 
making a thorough search for copies: priceless and most 
ancient records of the empire, containing the decrees of the 
Senate and the acts of the commons almost from the founda- 
tion of the city, regarding alliances, treaties, and special privi- 
leges granted to individuals. 

He also undertook new works, the temple of Peace hard by 
the Forum and one to the Deified Claudius on the Caelian 
mount, which was begun by Agrippina, but almost utterly de- 
stroyed by Nero; also an amphitheater 1 in the heart of the 
city, a plan which he learned that Augustus had cherished. 

He reorganized, augmented and reviewed, the great orders 
of Senators and Knights, which had been reduced by a series 
of murders and fallen into disrepute by long neglect. He ex- 
pelled those who least deserved the honor and enrolled the 
most distinguished of the Italians and provincials. Further- 
more, to let it be known that the two orders differed from 
each other not so much in their privileges as in their rank, in 
the case of an altercation between a Senator and a Roman 
Knight, he rendered the decision that "unseemly language 
should not be used toward Senators, but if they were the ag- 
gressors, it was proper and lawful to return their insults in 

Lawsuit upon lawsuit had accumulated in all the courts to 
an excessive degree, since those of long standing were left un- 
settled though the interruption of court business and new ones 
had arisen through the disorder of the times. He therefore 
chose commissioners by lot to restore what had been seized in 
time of war, and to make special decisions in the court of the 
Hundred, reducing the cases to the smallest possible number, 
since it was clear that the lifetime of the litigants would not 
suffice for the regular proceedings. 

Licentiousness and extravagance had flourished without 

1 The Coliseum, known until the Middle Ages as the Flavian 


restraint. He therefore induced the Senate to vote that any 
woman who formed a connection with the slave of another 
person should herself be treated as a bond-woman; and that 
those who lend money to young men still under the control 
of their father should never have a legal right to enforce pay- 
ment, that is to say, not even after the death of the fathers. 

In other matters he was unassuming and lenient from the 
very beginning of his reign until its end, never trying to con- 
ceal his former lowly condition, but often even parading it. 
Indeed, when certain men tried to trace the origin of the 
Flavian family to the founders of Reate and a companion of 
Hercules whose tomb still stands on the Salarian Road, he 
laughed at them for their pains. So far was he from a desire 
for pomp and show, that on the day of his triumph, 1 ex- 
hausted by the slow and tiresome procession, he did not hesi- 
tate to say: "It serves me right for being such a fool as to 
want a triumph in my old age, as if it were due to my ances- 
tors or had ever been among my own ambitions." He did not 
wen assume the tribunicial power at once nor the title of 
Father of his Country until late. As for the custom of search- 
ing 2 for those who came to pay their morning calls, he gave 
that up before the civil war was over. 

He bore the frank language of his friends, the quips of 
pleaders, and the impudence of the philosophers with the 
greatest patisnce. Though Licinius Mucianus, a notorious 
pathic, presumed upon his services to treat Vespasian with 
scant respect, 8 he never had the heart to criticize him except 
privately and then only to the extent of adding to a complaint 
made to a common friend, the significant words: "I at least 
am a man." When Salvius Liberalis ventured to say while 
defending a rich client, "What is it to Caesar if Hipparchus 
has a hundred millions," he personally commended him. When 
the Cynic Demetrius met him abroad after being condemned 
to banishment, and without deigning to rise in his presence or 

1 Vespasian and his son Titus had a joint triumph for the conquest 
if Judaea. 

2 For murderous weapons. 

8 He boasted that the rule had been at his disposal and that he had 
given it to Vespasian. 


to salute him, even snarled out some insult, he merely called 
him "cur." 

He was not inclined to remember or to avenge affronts or 
enmities, but made a brilliant match for the daughter of his 
enemy Vitellius, and even provided her with a dowry and a 
house-keeping outfit. When he was in terror at being forbid- 
den Nero's court, and asked what on earth he was to do or 
where he was to go, one of the ushers put him out and told 
him to "go to hell." Yet when the man later begged for for- 
giveness, Vespasian confined his resentment to words, and 
those of about the same number and purport. Indeed, so far 
was he from being led by any suspicion or fear to cause any 
one's death, that when his friends warned him that he must 
keep an eye on Mettius Pompusianus, since it was commonly 
believed that he had an imperial horoscope, he even made 
him Consul, guaranteeing that he would one day be mindful 
of the favor. 

It cannot readily be shown that any innocent person was 
punished save in Vespasian's absence and without his knowl- 
edge, or at any rate against his will and by misrepresentation. 
Although Helvidius Priscus was the only one who greeted him 
on his return from Syria by his private name of "Vespasian," 
and moreover in his praetorship left the Emperor unhonored 
and unmentioned in all his edicts, he did not show anger until 
by the extravagance of his railing Helvidius had made him 
out as little better than an ordinary person. But even in his 
case, though he did banish him and later order his death, he 
was most anxious for any means of saving him, and sent mes- 
sengers to recall those who were to slay him. And he would 
have saved him, but for a false report that Helvidius had al- 
ready been done to death. Certainly he never took pleasure in 
the death of any one, but even wept and sighed over those who 
suffered merited punishment. 

The only thing for which he can fairly be censured was 
his love of money. For not content with reviving the imposts 
which had been repealed under Galba, he added new and 
heavy burdens, increasing the amount of tribute paid by the 
provinces, in some cases actually doubling it, and quite openly 
carrying on traffic which would be shameful even for a man 
in private life. For he would buy up certain commodities 


merely in order to distribute them at a profit. He did not 
scruple to sell offices to candidates and acquittals to men un- 
der prosecution, whether innocent or guilty. He is even be- 
lieved to have had the habit of designedly advancing the most 
rapacious of his procurators to higher posts, that they might 
be the richer when he later condemned them. In fact, it was 
common talk that he used these men as sponges, because he, 
so to speak, soaked them when they were dry and squeezed 
them when they were wet. 

Some say that he was naturally covetous and was taunted 
with it by an old herdsman of his, who on being forced to pay 
for the freedom for which he earnestly begged Vespasian when 
he became Emperor, cried: "The fox changes his fur, but not 
his nature." Others on the contrary believe that he was 
driven by necessity to raise money by spoliation and robbery 
because of the desperate state of the treasury and the privy 
purse, to which he bore witness at the very beginning of his 
reign by declaring that forty thousand millions x were needed 
to set the State upright. This latter view seems the more 
probable, since he made the best use of his gains, ill-gotten 
though they were. 

He was most generous to all classes, making up the requi- 
site estate for Senators, 2 giving needy ex-consuls an annual 
stipend of five hundred thousand sesterces, 8 restoring to a 
better condition many cities throughout the empire which 
had suffered from earthquakes or fires, and in particular en- 
couraging men of talent and the arts. 

He was the first to establish a regular salary of a hundred 
thousand sesterces 4 for Latin and Greek teachers of rhetoric, 
paid from the privy purse. He also presented eminent poets 
with princely largess and great rewards, and artists, too, such 
as the restorer of the Venus of Cos and of the Colossus. 6 To 
a mechanical engineer, who promised to transport some heavy 
columns to the Capitol at small expense, he gave no mean 
reward for his invention, but refused to make use of it, saying 

1 $1,640,000,000.00. 

* Increased to $49,200.00 by Augustus. 
8 $20,500.00. 

4 $4,100.00. 

A statue of Nero. 


that he should not be forced to take from the poor commons 
the work that fed them. 

At the plays with which he dedicated the new stage of the 
theater of Marcellus he revived the old musical entertain- 
ments. To Apelles, the tragic actor, he gave four hundred 
thousand sesterces 1 ; to Terpnus and Diodorus, the lyre- 
players, two hundred thousand each; to several a hundred 
thousand; while those who received least were paid forty 
thousand, and numerous golden crowns were awarded besides. 
He gave constant dinner-parties, too, usually with many sump- 
tuous courses, to help the marketmen. He gave dinner gifts 
to women on the first of March, 2 as he did to the men on 
the Saturnalia. 

Yet even so he could not be rid of his former ill-repute for 
covetousness. The Alexandrians persisted in calling him 
Cybiosactes, 3 the surname of one of their Kings who was scan- 
dalously stingy. Even at his funeral, Favor, a leading actor 
of mimes, who wore his mask and, according to the usual cus- 
tom, imitated the actions and words of the deceased during 
his lifetime, having asked the procurators in a loud voice how 
much his funeral procession would cost, and hearing the reply 
"Ten million sesterces," cried out: "Give me a hundred thou- 
sand and fling me even into the Tiber." 

He was well built, with strong, sturdy limbs, and the expres- 
sion of one who was straining at stool. Apropos of which a 
witty fellow, when Vespasian asked him to make a joke on him 
also, replied rather cleverly: "I will, when you have finished 
relieving your bowels." He enjoyed excellent health, though 
he did nothing to preserve it except to rub his throat and 
the other parts of his body a certain number of times in the 
exercise grounds attached to the baths, and to fast one day 
in every month. 

This was in general his manner of life. While Emperor, he 
always rose very early, in fact before daylight. After reading 

1 $16400.00. 

2 The Matronalia or feast of married women. At this the matrons 
served their female attendants, as at the feast of the men's Saturnalia 
in December the masters served their slaves. 

* A transliterated Greek word meaning "a dealer in square pieces 
of salt fish." 


his letters and the reports of all the officials, he admitted his 
friends, and while he was receiving their greetings, he put 
on his own shoes and dressed himself. After dispatching any 
business that came up, he took time for a drive and then for 
a nap, lying with one of his mistresses, of whom he had taken 
several after the death of Caenis. After his siesta he went to 
the bath and the dining-room. And it is said that at no time 
was he more good-natured or indulgent, so that the members 
of his household eagerly watched for these opportunities of 
making requests. 

Not only at dinner but on all other occasions he was most 
affable, and he turned off many matters with a jest. For he was 
very ready with sharp sayings, albeit of a low and buffoonish 
kind, so that he did not even refrain from ribald expressions. 
Yet many of his remarks are still remembered which are full 
of fine wit, and among them the following. When an ex-consul 
called Mestrius Florus called his attention to the fact that 
the proper pronunciation was plaustra rather than plostra, he 
greeted him next day as "Flaurus." 1 When he was importuned 
by a woman, who said that she was dying with love for him, 
he took her to his bed and, after he had gratified her desires, 
gave her four hundred thousand sesterces. 2 Being asked by his 
steward how he would have the sum entered in his accounts, 
he replied: "To a passion for Vespasian." 

He also quoted Greek verses with great timeliness, saying 
of a man of tall stature and monstrous members: 

"Striding along and waving a lance that casts a long shad- 
ow," 8 

and of the freedman Cerylus, who was very rich, and, to 
cheat the privy purse of its dues at his death had begun to 
give himself out as freeborn, changing his name to Laches: 

"Laches, O Laches, once you are dead 
Back to Cerylus you'll have it instead." 4 

1 Plaustra was the urban form for "wagons." Rustics pronounced 
it plostra. Vespasian had either never entirely discarded the dialect of 
his Sabine countrymen or he still affected it. His retort was happy, since 
Flaurus was derived from a Greek word meaning "worthless." 

2 $16400.00. 

8 Iliad, VII, 213. 

4 From Menander's 0eo<j>opovfUnr, 


But he particularly resorted to witticisms about his unseemly 
means of gain, seeking to diminish their odium by some jo- 
cose saying and to turn them into a jest. 

Having put off one of his favorite attendants, who asked 
for a stewardship for a pretended brother, he summoned the 
candidate himself, and after compelling him to pay him as 
much money as he had agreed to give his lawyer, appointed 
him to the position without delay. On his attendant's taking 
up the matter again, he said: "Find yourself another brother; 
the man that you thought was yours is mine." On a journey, 
suspecting that his muleteer had got down to shoe the mules 
merely to make delay and give time for a man with a lawsuit 
to approach the Emperor, he asked how much he was paid 
for shoeing the mules and insisted on a share of the money. 
When Titus found fault with him for contriving a tax upon 
public toilets, he held a piece of money from the first payment 
to his son's nose, asking whether its odor was offensive to him. 
When Titus said "No," he replied, "Yet it comes from urine." 
On the report of a deputation that a colossal statue of great 
cost had been voted him at public expense, he demanded to 
have it set up at once, and holding out his open hand, said 
that the base was ready. He did not cease his jokes even when 
in apprehension of death and in extreme danger. For when, 
among other portents, the Mausoleum opened on a sudden 
and a comet appeared in the heavens, he declared that the 
former applied to Junia Calvina of the family of Augustus, 1 
and the latter to the King of the Parthians, who wore his hair 
long. And as death drew near, he said: "Woe's me. Methinks 
I'm turning into a God." 

In his ninth consulship he had a slight illness in Campania, 
and returning at once to the city, he left for Cutilae and the 
country about Reate, where he spent the summer every year. 
There, in addition to an increase in his illness, having con- 
tracted a bowel complaint by too free use of the cold waters, 
he nevertheless continued to perform his duties as Emperor, 
even receiving embassies as he lay in bed. Taken on a sudden 
with such an attack of diarrhoea that he all but swooned, he 

1( The Flavian family had their own tomb. Therefore it did not 
concern him if the Mausoleum, the tomb of Augustus and his de- 
scendants, flew open. 


said: "An Emperor ought to die standing," and while he was 
struggling to get on his feet, he died in the arms of those who 
tried to help him, on the ninth day before the Kalends of 
July^ at the age of sixty-nine years, one month and seven 

All agree that he had so much faith in his own horoscope 
and those of his family, that even after constant conspiracies 
were made against him he had the assurance to say to the 
Senate that either his sons would succeed him or he would 
have no successor. It is also said that he once dreamed that 
he saw a balance with its beam on a level placed in the middle 
of the vestibule of the palace, in one pan of which stood Clau- 
dius and Nero and in the other himself and his sons. And the 
dream came true, since both houses reigned for the same space 
of time and the same term of years. 


TITUS, of the same surname as his father, was the delight 
and darling of the human race; such surpassing ability had 
he, by nature, art, or good fortune, to win the affections of all 
men, and that, too, which is no easy task, while he was Em- 
peror. For as a private citizen and even during his father's 
rule, he did not escape hatred, much less public criticism. 

He was born on the third day before the Kalends of Janu- 
ary, in the year memorable for the death of Caligula in a 
mean house near the Septizonium and in a very small dark 
room besides; for it still remains and is shown to the curious. 

He was brought up at court in company with Britannicus 
and taught the same subjects by the same masters. At that 
time, so they say, a physiognomist was brought in by Narcis- 
sus, the freedman of Claudius, to examine Britannicus and 
declared most positively that he would never become Em- 
peror, but that Titus, who was standing near by at the time, 
would surely rule. The boys were so intimate too, that it is 
believed that when Britannicus drained the fatal draught, 
Titus, who was reclining at his side, also tasted of the potion 
and for a long time suffered from an obstinate disorder. Titus 
did not forget all this, but later set up a golden statue of his 
friend in the palace, and dedicated another equestrian statue 
of ivory, which is to this day carried in the procession in the 
Circus, and attended it on its first appearance. 

Even in boyhood his bodily and mental gifts were conspicu- 
ous and they became more and more so as he advanced in 
years. He had a handsome person, in which there was no less 
dignity than grace, and was uncommonly strong, although he 
was not tall of stature and had a rather orotruding belly. His 
/nernory was extraordinary and he had an aptitude for almost 
all the arts, both of war and of peace, Skillful in arms and 
horsemanship, he made speeches and wrote verses in Latin 
and Greek with ease and readiness, and even off-hand. He was 



besides not unacquainted with music, but sang and played the 
harp agreeably and skillfully. I have heard from many sources 
that he used also to write shorthand with great speed and 
would amuse himself by playful contests with his secretaries; 
also that he could imitate any handwriting that he had ever 
seen and often declared that he might have been the prince 
of forgers. 

He served as military Tribune both in Germany and in Brit- 
ain, winning a high reputation for energy and no less for 
integrity, as is evident from the great number of his statues 
and busts in both those provinces and from the inscriptions 
they bear. 

After his military service he pleaded in the Forum, rather 
or glory than as a profession, and at the same time took to 
wife Arrecina Tertulla, whose father, though only a Roman 
Knight, had once been Prefect of the praetorian cohorts. On 
her death he replaced her by Marcia Furnilla, a lady of a 
very distinguished family, but divorced her after he had ac- 
knowledged a daughter which she bore him. 

Then, after holding the office of Quaestor, as commander 
of a legion he subjugated the two strong cities of Tarichaeae 
and Gamala in Judaea, having his horse killed under him in 
one battle and mounting another, whose rider had fallen fight- 
ing by his side. 

Presently he was sent to congratulate Galba on becoming 
ruler of the state, and attracted attention wherever he went, 
through the belief that he had been sent for to be adopted. 
But observing that everything was once more in a state of 
turmoil, he turned back, and visiting the oracle of the Paphian 
Venus, to consult it about his voyage, he was also encouraged 
to hope for imperial power. Soon realizing his hope l and left 
behind to complete the conquest of Judaea, in the final attack 
on Jerusalem he slew twelve of the defenders with as many 
arrows. He took the city on his daughter's birthday, 2 so de~ 
lighting the soldiers and winning their devotion that they 

1 By the elevation of his father to the throne. 

2 Jerusalem was taken, sacked, and burned, by Titus, after a two 
years' siege, September 8, 70, in the second year of Vespasian's reign, 
Vespasian was 60, Titus 30. Pompey had taken it in 65 B.C. after 4 
three mouths' siege. 


bailed him as Imperator and detained him from time to time 
when he would leave the province, urging him with prayers 
and even with threats either to stay or to take them all with 
him. This aroused the suspicion that he had tried to revolt 
from his father and make himself King of the East. He 
strengthened this suspicion on his way to Alexandria by wear- 
ing a diadem at the consecration of the bull Apis in Memphis, 
an act quite in accord with the usual ceremonial of that an- 
cient religion, but unfavorably interpreted by some. Because 
of this he hastened to Italy, and putting in at Regium and 
then at Puteoli in a transport ship, he went with all speed 
from there to Rome, where, as if to show that the reports 
about him were groundless, he surprised his father with the 
greeting, "I am here, father; I am here." 

From that time on he never ceased to act as the Emperor's 
partner and even as his protector. He took part in his father's 
triumph x and was Censor with him. He was also his colleague 
in the tribunicial power and in seven consulships. He took 
upon himself the discharge of almost all duties, personally 
dictated letters and wrote edicts in his father's name, and even 
read his speeches in the Senate in lieu of a Quaestor. He also 
assumed the command of the praetorian guard, which before 
that time had never been held except by a Roman Knight, 
and in this office conducted himself in a somewhat arrogant 
and tyrannical fashion. For whenever he himself regarded any 
one with suspicion, he would secretly send some of the guard 
to the various theaters and camps, to demand their punish* 
ment, as if by consent of all who were present. He would then 
put them out of the way without delay. Among these was 
Aulus Caecina. an ex-consul, whom he invited to dinner and 
then ordered to be stabbed almost before he left the dining- 
room. But in this case he was led by a pressing danger, having 
got possession of an autograph copy of an harangue which 
Caecina had prepared to deliver to the soldiers. Although by 
such conduct he provided for his safety in the future, he in- 
curred such odium at the time that hardly any one ever came 

1 Commemorated by the triumphal monument called the Arch of 
Titus, erected by the Senate and people of Rome after his death. It is 
still standing, and is one of the most beautiful and interesting models 
of Roman architecture. 


to the throne with so evil a reputation or so much against the 
desires of all. 

Besides cruelty, he was also suspected of riotous living, 
since he protracted his revels until the middle of the night with 
the most prodigal of his friends; likewise of unchastity be- 
cause of his troops of catamites and eunuchs, and his notorious 
passion for Queen Berenice, to whom it was even said that he 
promised marriage. He was suspected of greed as well, for it 
was well known that in cases which came before his father he 
put a price on his influence and accepted bribes. In short, 
people not only thought, but openly declared, that he would 
be a second Nero. But this reputation turned out to his ad- 
vantage and gave place to the highest praise, when no fault 
was discovered in him, but on the contrary the highest virtues. 

His banquets were pleasant rather than extravagant. He 
chose as his friends men whom succeeding Emperors also re- 
tained as indispensable alike to themselves and to the State, 
and of whose services they made special use. Berenice he sent 
from Rome at once, against her will and against his own. 
Some of his most beloved paramours, although they were such 
skillful dancers that they later became stage favorites, he not 
only ceased to cherish any longer, but even to witness their 
public performances. 

He took away nothing from any citizen. He respected 
others' property, if any one ever did. In fact, he would not 
accept even proper and customary presents. And yet he was 
second to none of his predecessors in munificence. At the dedi~ 
cation of the amphitheater 1 and of the baths which were 
hastily built near it he gave a most magnificent and costly 
gladiatorial show. He presented a sham sea-fight too in the old 
Naumachia, and in the same place a combat of gladiators, 3 
exhibiting in one day five thousand wild beasts of every kind. 

He was most kindly by nature, and whereas in accordance 
with a custom established by Tiberius, all the Caesars who 
followed him refused to regard favors granted by previous 
Emperors as valid, unless they had themselves conferred the 
same ones on the same individuals, Titus was the first to 

1 The Coliseum, which had been in construction for four yean. 
* After the water had been let out. 


ratify them all in a single edict, without allowing himself to 
be asked. Moreover, in the case of other requests made of 
him, it was his fixed rule not to let any one go away without 
hope. Even when his household officials warned him that he 
was promising more than he could perform, he said that it 
was not right for any one to go away sorrowful from an inter- 
view with his Emperor. On another occasion, remembering at 
dinner that he had done nothing for anybody all that day, he 
gave utterance to that memorable and praiseworthy remark: 
"Friends, I have lost a day." 

The whole body of the people in particular he treated with 
such indulgence on all occasions, that once at a gladiatorial 
show he declared that he would give it, "not after his own in- 
clinations, but those of the spectators"; and what is more, he 
kept his word. For he refused nothing which any one asked, 
and even urged them to ask for what they wished. Further- 
more, he openly displayed his partiality for Thracian gladi- 
ators and bantered the people about it by words and gestures, 
always, however, preserving his dignity, as well as observing 
justice. Not to omit any act of condescension, he sometimes 
bathed in the baths which he had built, in company with the 
common people. 

There were some dreadful disasters during his reign, such 
as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, a fire at 
Rome which continued three days and as many nights, and a 
plague the like of which had hardly ever been known before. 1 
In these many great calamities he showed not merely the con- 
cern of an Emperor, but even a father's surpassing love, now 
offering consolation in edicts, and now lending aid so far as 
his means allowed. He chose commissioners by lot from among 
the ex-consuls for the relief of Campania, and the property 
of those who lost their lives by Vesuvius and had no heirs left 
alive he applied to the rebuilding of the buried cities. During 
the fire in Rome he made no remark except "I am ruined," 2 
and he set aside all the ornaments of his villas for the public 
buildings and temples, and put several men of the equestrian 
order in charge of the work, that everything might be done 

1 Eusebius (Chronicon II) says the dead numbered as high as ten 
thousand a day. 

2 Implying that it was his personal loss, which he world make good. 


with the greater dispatch. For curing the plague and diminish* 
ing the force of the epidemic there was no aid, human or 
divine, which he did not employ, searching for every kind of 
sacrifice and all kinds of medicines. 

Among the evils of the times were the informers and their 
instigators, who had enjoyed a long standing license. After 
these had been soundly beaten in the Forum with scourges 
and cudgels, and finally led in procession across the arena of 
the amphitheater, he had some of them put up and sold, and 
others deported to the wildest of the islands. Further to dis- 
courage for all time any who might think of venturing on 
similar practices, among other precautions he made it unlaw- 
ful for any one to be tried under several laws for the same of- 
fense, or for any inquiry to be made as to the legal status of 
any deceased person after a stated number of years. 

Having declared that he would accept the office of Pontifex 
Maximus for the purpose of keeping his hands unstained, he 
was true to his promise. For, after that he neither caused nor 
connived at the death of any man, although he sometimes had 
no lack of reasons for taking vengeance; but he swore that he 
would gather be killed than kill. When two men of patrician 
family were found guilty of aspiring to the throne, he satisfied 
himself with warning them to abandon their attempt, saying 
that imperial power was the gift of fate, and promising that if 
there was anything else they desired, he himself would bestow 
it. Then he sent his couriers with all speed to the mother of 
one of them, for she was some distance off, to relieve her 
anxiety by reporting that her son was safe. And he not only 
invited the men themselves to dinner among his friends, but 
on the following day at a gladiatorial show he purposely placed 
them near him, and when the swords of the contestants were 
offered him, 1 handed them over for their inspection. It is even 
said that he inquired into the horoscope of each of them, and 
declared that danger threatened them both, but at some future 
time and from another, as turned out to be the case. 

Although his brother 2 never ceased plotting against him, 
but almost openly stirred up the armies to revolt and meditated 

1 The weapons of gladiators were regularly examined by the give* 
of the games to see if they were sharp enough. 
* 2 Domitian. , , , 


flight to them, he had not the heart to put him to death or 
banish him from the court, or even to hold him in less honor 
than before. On the contrary, as he had done from the very 
first day of his rule, he continued to declare that he was his 
partner and successor, and sometimes he privately begged him 
with tears and prayers to be willing at least to return his 

In the meantime he was cut off by death, to the loss of 
mankind rather than to his own. After finishing the public 
games, at the close of which he wept bitterly in the presence 
of the people, he went to the Sabine territory, somewhat cast 
down because a victim had escaped as he was sacrificing and 
because it had thundered from a clear sky. Then at the very 
first stopping place he was seized with a fever, and as he was 
being carried on from there in a litter, it is said that he pushed 
bade the curtains, looked up to heaven, and lamented bitterly 
that his life was being taken from him contrary to his deserts. 
For he said that there was no act of his life of which he had 
cause to repent, save one only. What this was he did not him- 
self disclose at the time, nor could any one easily divine. 1 
Some think that he recalled the intimacy which he had with 
his brother's wife. But Domitia swore most solemnly that this 
did not exist, although she would not have denied it if it had 
been in the least true, but on the contrary would have boasted 
of it, as she was most ready to do of all her scandalous actions. 

He died in the same farmhouse as his father, on the Ides of 
September, two years two months and twenty days after suc- 
ceeding Vespasian, in the forty-second year of his age. When 
his death was made known, the whole populace mourned as 
they would for a loss in their own families, the Senate 
hastened to the House before it was summoned by proclama- 
tion, and with the doors still shut, and then with them open, 
rendered such thanks to him and heaped such praise on him 
after death as they had never done even when he was alive 
and preserit. 

1 Perhaps Domitian's charge that Titus had tampered with . Ves- 
pasian's will was' true. See Domitian. ' 


DOMITIAN was born on the ninth day before the Kalends 
of November of the year when his father was Consul-elect 
and was about to enter on the office in the following month, 
in a street of the sixth region called "the Pomegranate/' in a 
house which he afterwards converted into a temple of the 
Flavian family. He is said to have passed the period of his 
boyhood and his early youth in great poverty and infamy. 
For he did not possess a single piece of plate and it is a well 
known fact that Claudius Pollio, a man of praetorian rank, 
against whom Nero's poem entitled "The One-eyed Man" 
is directed, preserved a letter in Domitian's handwriting and 
sometimes exhibited it, in which the future Emperor promised 
him an assignation; and there have not been wanting those 
who declared that Domitian was also debauched by Nerva, 
who succeeded him. In the war with Vitellius he took refuge in 
the Capitol with his paternal uncle Sabinus and a part of the 
forces under him. When the enemy forced an entrance and the 
temple was fired, he hid during the night with the guardian of 
the shrine, and in the morning, disguised in the garb of a fol- 
lower of Isis and mingling with the priests of that fickle super- 
stition, he went across the Tiber with a single companion to 
the mother of one of his school-fellows. There he was so ef- 
fectually concealed, that though he was closely followed, he 
could not be found, in spite of a thorough search. It was only 
after the victory that he ventured forth and after being hailed 
as Caesar, 1 he assumed the office of City Praetor with con- 
sular powers, but only in name, turning over all the judicial 
business to his next colleague. But he exercised all the tyranny 
of his high position so lawlessly, that it was even then apparent 
what sort of a man he was going to be. Not to mention all 
details, after making free with the wives of many men, he 

* He governed the city till his father arrived 



went so far as to marry Domitia Longina, who was the wife 
of Aelius Lamia, and in a single day he assigned more than 
twenty positions in the city and abroad, which led Vespasian 
to say more than once that he was surprised that he did not 
appoint the Emperor's successors with the rest. 

He began an expedition against Gaul and the Germanics, 
which was uncalled for and from which his father's friends 
dissuaded him, merely that he might make himself equal to 
his brother in power and rank. For this he was reprimanded, 
and to give him a better realization of his youth x and posi- 
tion, he had to live with his father, and when they appeared 
in public he followed the Emperor's chair and that of his 
brother in a litter, while he also attended their triumph over 
Judaea riding on a white horse. 2 Moreover, of his six consul 
ships only one was a regular one, and he obtained that only 
because his brother gave place to him and recommended his 

He himself too made a remarkable pretense of modesty 
and especially of an interest in poetry, an art which had previ- 
ously been as unfamiliar to him as it was later despised and 
rejected, and he even gave readings in public. Yet in spite 
of all this, when Vologaesus, King of the Parthians, had 
asked for auxiliaries against the Alani and for one of Ves- 
pasian's sons as their leader, Domitian used every effort to 
have himself sent rather than Titus. And because the affair 
came to nothing, he tried by gifts and promises to induce 
other eastern kings to make the same request. 

On the death of his father he hesitated for some time 
whether to offer a double largess 8 to the soldiers, and he 
never had any compunction about saying that he had been 
left a partner in the imperial power, but that the will had 
been tampered with. And from that time on he never ceased 
to plot against his brother secretly and openly, until Titus 
was seized with a dangerous illness, when Domitian ordered 
that he be left for dead, before he had actually drawn his 
last breath. And after his death he bestowed no honor upon 
him, save that of deification, and he often assailed his memory 

1 He was eighteen at the time. 

3 The usual procedure for a youthful prince. 

8 Double his brother's in order to sway them to support him. 


in ambiguous phrases, both in his speeches and in his edicts. 

At the beginning of his reign he used to spend hours in 
seclusion every day, doing nothing but catch flies and stab 
them with a keenly-sharpened stylus. Consequently when 
some one once asked whether any one was in there with 
Caesar, Vibius Crispus made the witty reply: "Not even a 

Soon after his advancement he bestowed the name of 
Augusta on his wife Domitia. He had had a son by her in his 
second consulship, and in the following year a daughter. He 
divorced her because of her love for the actor Paris, but could 
not bear the separation and soon took her back, alleging that 
the people demanded it. 

In his administration of the government he for some time 
showed himself inconsistent, with about an equal number of 
virtues and vices, but finally he turned the virtues also into 
vices. For, so far as one may guess, it was contrary to his 
natural disposition that he was made rapacious through 
need and cruel through fear. 

He constantly gave grand and costly entertainments, both 
in the amphitheater and in the Circus, where in addition to 
the usual races between two-horse and four-horse chariots, 
he also exhibited two battles, one between forces of infantry 
and the other by horsemen. And he even gave a naval battle 
in the amphitheater. Besides he gave hunts of wild beasts, 
gladiatorial shows at night by the light of torches, and not 
only combats between men but between women as well. He 
was always present too at the games given by the Quaestors, 
which he revived after they had been abandoned for some 
time, and invariably granted the people the privilege of call- 
ing for two pairs of gladiators from his own school, and 
brought them in last in all the splendor of the court. During 
the whole of every gladiatorial show there always stood at 
his feet a small boy clad in scarlet, with an abnormally small 
head, with whom he used to talk a great deal, and sometimes 
seriously. At any rate, he was overheard to ask him if he 
knew why he had decided at the last appointment day to 
make Mettius Rufus Prefect of Egypt. He often gave sea- 
fights almost with regular fleets, having dug a pool near the 


Tiber and surrounded it with seats; and he continued to wit- 
ness the contests amid heavy rains. 

He also celebrated Secular games, reckoning the time, not 
according to the year when Claudius had last given them, 
but by the previous calculation of Augustus. In the course of 
these, to make it possible to finish a hundred races on the 
day of the contests in the Circus, he diminished the number 
of laps from seven to five. 

He also established a quinquennial contest in honor of 
Jupiter Capitolinus of a threefold character, comprising mu- 
sic, riding, and gymnastics, and with considerably more 
prizes than are awarded nowadays. For there were competi- 
tions in prose declamation 1 both in Greek and in Latin. And 
in addition to contests of the lyre-players, there were others 
of several playing together as well as singly but without sing- 
ing, while in the stadium there were races even between 
maidens. He presided at the competitions in half-boots, clad 
in a purple toga in the Greek fashion, and wearing upon 
his head a golden crown with figures of Jupiter, Juno, and 
Minerva, while by his side sat the Priest of Jupiter and the 
college of the Flaviales, 2 similarly dressed, except that their 
crowns bore his image as well. He celebrated the Quinquatria 
too every year in honor of Minerva at his Alban villa, and 
established for her a college of priests, from which men were 
chosen by lot to act as officers and give splendid shows of 
wild beasts and stage plays, besides holding contests in ora- 
tory and poetry. 

He made a piesent to the people of three hundred ses- 
terces 8 each on three occasions, and in the course of one of 
his shows in celebration of the feast of the Seven Hills gave 
a plentiful banquet, distributing large baskets of victuals to 
the Senate and Knights, and smaller ones to the Commons. 
And he himself was the first to begin to eat. On the following 
day he scattered gifts of all sorts of things to be scrambled 
for, anc} since the greater part of these fell where the people 

1 As well as in poetry. 

2 Established for the worship of the deified Emperors of the Flavian 
line after the manner of the Augustan. 

8 $12.30. 


sat, he had five hundred tickets thrown into each section 
occupied by the senatorial and equestrian orders. 

He restored many splendid buildings which had been de- 
stroyed by fire, among them the Capitolium, which had again 
been burned, 1 but in all cases with the inscription of his own 
name only, and with no mention of the original builder. Fur- 
thermore, he built a new temple on the Capitoline hill in 
honor of Jupiter Gustos and the Forum which now bears the 
name of Nerva; 2 likewise a temple to the Flavian family, a 
stadium, an Odeum, 8 and a pool for sea-fights. From the stone 
used in this last the Circus Maximus was afterwards rebuilt, 
when both sides of it had been destroyed by fire. 

His campaigns he undertook partly without provocation 
and partly of necessity. That against the Chatti was uncalled 
for, while the one against the Sarmatians was justified by the 
destruction of a legion with its commander. He made two 
against the Dacians, the first when Oppius Sabinus an ex- 
consul was defeated, and the second on the overthrow of 
Cornelius Fuscus, Prefect of the praetorian guard, to whom 
he had entrusted the conduct of the war. After several bat- 
tles of varying success he celebrated a double triumph 
over the Chatti and the Dacians. 4 His victories over the Sar- 
matians he commemorated merely by the offering of a laurel 
crown to Jupiter of the Capitol, 

A civil war which was set on foot by Lucius Antonius, 
Governor of Upper Germany, was put down in the Emperor's 
absence by a remarkable stroke of good fortune, for at the 
very hour of the battle the Rhine suddenly thawed and pre- 
vented his barbarian allies from crossing over to Antonius. 
Domitian learned of this victory through omens before he 
actually had news of it, for on the very day when the decisive 
battle was fought a magnificent eagle enfolded his statue at 
Rome with its wings, uttering exultant shrieks, and soon 
afterwards a report of the death of Antonius became so cur- 

1 For the third time: first in the Marian war, and rebuilt by Pompey ; 
second in 69, during the reign of Vitellius; third in 80 in the fire 
mentioned in Titus. 

* Who finished and dedicated it. 

8 The first Music Hall in Rome. 

This triumph Tacitus in A^ncola XXXIX calls a farce. 


rent, that several went so far as to assert positively that they 
had seen his head brought to Rome. 

He made many innovations also in common customs. He 
did away with the dole of food distributed in baskets to the 
people and revived the old custom of regular public dinners. 
He added two factions of drivers in the Circus, with gold and 
purple as their colors, to the four former ones. He forbade 
the appearance of actors on the stage, but allowed the prac- 
tice of their art in private houses. He prohibited the castra- 
tion of males, and kept down the price of the eunuchs that 
remained in the hands of the slave dealers. Once upon the 
occasion of a plentiful wine crop, attended with a scarcity 
of grain, thinking that the fields were neglected through too 
much attention to the vineyards, he made an edict forbidding 
any one to plant more vines in Italy and ordering that the 
vineyards in the provinces he cut down, or but half of them 
at most be left standing. But he did not persist in carrying 
out the measure. He divided some of the most important 
offices of the court 1 between the freedmen and Roman 
Knights. He prohibited the uniting of two legions in one 
camp and the deposit of more than a thousand sesterces 2 by 
any one soldier at headquarters, 8 because it was clear that 
Lucius Antonius had been especially led to attempt a revolu- 
tion by the amount of such deposits in the combined winter 
quarters of two legions. He increased the pay of the soldiers 
one-fourth, by the addition of three gold pieces each year. 4 

He administered justice scrupulously and conscientiously, 
frequently holding special sittings on the tribunal in the 
Forum. He rescinded such decisions of the Hundred Judges 
as had been made through favor or interest. He often warned 
the arbiters not to grant claims for freedom made under false 
pretenses. He degraded jurors who accepted bribes, together 
with all their associates. He also induced the Tribunes of the 
Commons to prosecute a corrupt Aedile for extortion, and to 

1 Formerly held by freedmen. Hadrian restricted them to Knights. 

2 $41.00. 

8 Soldiers had been encouraged to deposit all they could save with 
the general in command. They would then have ready money at the end 
of the term of their service. In the meantime they would fight better. 

* That is, he raised the amount from $36.90 to $41.20. 


ask the Senate to appoint jurors in the case. He took such 
care to exercise restraint over the city officials and the Gov* 
ernors of the provinces, that at no time were they more honest 
or just, whereas after his time we have seen many of them 
charged with all manner of offenses. 

Having undertaken the correction of public morals, he put 
an end to the license at the theaters, where the general pub- 
lic occupied the seats reserved for the Knights. He did away 
with the prevailing publication of scurrilous lampoons, in 
which distinguished men and women were attacked, and im- 
posed ignominious penalties on their authors. He expelled 
in ex-quaestor from the Senate, because he was given to act- 
ing and dancing. He deprived notorious women of the use of 
litters, as well as of the right to receive inheritances and 
legacies. He struck the name of a Roman Knight from the 
list of jurors, because he had taken back his wife after divorc- 
ing her and charging her with adultery. He condemned sev- 
eral men of both orders, offenders against the Scantinian 
law. 1 And the incest of Vestal Virgins, condoned even by his 
father and his brother, he punished severely in divers ways, 
at first by capital punishment, and afterwards in the ancient 
fashion. For while he allowed the sisters Oculata and also 
Varronilla free choice of the manner of their deaths, and ban- 
ished their paramours, he later ordered that Cornelia, a chief- 
Vestal who had been acquitted once but after a long interval 
again arraigned and found guilty, be buried alive; and her 
lovers were beaten to death with rods in the Comitium, with 
the exception of an ex-praetor, whom he allowed to go into 
exile, because he admitted his guilt while the case was still 
unsettled and the examination and torture of the witnesses 
had led to no result. To protect the Gods from being dis- 
honored with impunity by any sacrilege, he caused a tomb 
which one of his freedmen had built for his son from stones 
intended for the temple of Jupiter of the Capitol to be de- 
stroyed by the soldiers and the bones and ashes contained in 
it thrown into the sea. 

In the earlier part of his reign he so shrank from any form 
of bloodshed, that while his father was still absent from the 

1 Against sodomy. 


city, he planned to issue an edict that no oxen should be of- 
fered in sacrifice, recalling the line of Vergil, 

"Ere godless men, restrained from blood in vain, 
Began to feast on flesh of bullocks slain." * 

He was equally free from any suspicion of love of gain or 
[)f avarice, both in private life and for some time after becom- 
ing Emperor. On the contrary, he often gave strong proofs 
not merely of integrity, but even of liberality. He treated all 
his intimates most generously, and there was nothing which 
tie urged them more frequently, or with greater insistence, 
than that they should not be niggardly in any of their acts. 
He would not accept inheritances left him by those who had 
children. He even annulled a legacy in the will of Rustus 
Caepio, who had provided that his heir should yearly pay a 
specified sum to each of the Senators on his entrance into the 
House. 2 He canceled the suits against those who hnd been 
posted as debtors to the public treasury for more than five 
years, and would not allow a renewal except within a year 
and on the condition that an accuser who did not win his suit 
should be punished with exile. Scribes of the Quaestors who 
carried on business, which had become usual although con* 
trary to the Clodian law, he pardoned for past offenses. Par- 
:els of land which were left unoccupied here and there after 
the assignment of lands to the veterans he granted to thei* 
Dld-time owners as by right of possession. He checked false 
accusations designed for the profit of the privy purse and in- 
flicted severe penalties on offenders. And a saying of his was 
:urrent, that an Emperor who does not punish informers 
tiounds them on. 

But he did not continue this course of mercy or integrity, 
although he turned to cruelty somewhat more speedily than 
to avarice. He put to death a pupil of the pantomimic actor 
Paris, who was still a beardless boy and ill at the time, be- 
cause in his skill and his appearance he seemed not unlike 
bis master; also Hermogenes of Tarsus because of some al- 
lusions in his History, besides crucifying even the slaves who 

1 Georgics II, S3 7- 

a On his first entrance, Suetonius probably meant 


bad written it out. A householder who said that a Thracian 
gladiator was a match for the murmillo, but not for the giver 
of the games, he caused to be dragged from his seat and 
thrown into the arena to dogs, with this placard: "A favorer 
of the Thracians who spoke impiously." x 

He put to death many Senators, among them several ex- 
consuls, including Civica Cerealis, at the very time when he 
was Proconsul in Asia, Salvidienus Orfitus, and Acilius 
Glabrio while he was in exile, under the pretense they were 
plotting revolution. For the rest, any charge served, no matter 
how trivial. He slew Aelius Lamia for joking remarks, which 
were reflections on him, it is true, but made long before and 
harmless. For when Domitian had taken away Lamia's wife, 
the latter replied to some one who praised his voice: "I prac- 
tice continence"; 2 and when Titus urged him to marry again, 
he replied: "Are you too looking for a wife?" He put to death 
Salvius Cocceianus, because he had kept the birthday of the 
Emperor Otho, his paternal uncle; Mettius Pompusianus, 
because it was commonly reported that he had an imperial 
nativity and carried about a map of the world on parchment 
and speeches of the Kings and Generals from Titus Livius, 
besides giving two of his slaves the names of Mago and Han- 
nibal. He put Sallustius Lucullus, Governor of Britain, to 
death for allowing some lances of a new pattern to be called 
"Lucullean," after his own name; Junius Rusticus, because 
he had published eulogies of Paetus Thrasea and Helvidius 
Priscus and called them the most upright of men, banishing, 
on the occasion of this charge, all the philosophers from the 
city and from Italy. He executed the younger Helvidius, al- 
leging that in a farce composed for the stage he had under the 
characters of Paris and Oenone censured Domitian 's divorce 
from his wife; also Flavius Sabinus, one of his cousins, be- 
cause on the day of the consular elections the crier had in- 
advertently announced him to the people as Emperor-elect, 
instead of Consul. 

1 Domitian favored the murmillo s, the gladiators who fought with 
Gallic arms. The spirit of partisanship ran so high at the gladiatorial 
combats that it was almost treason to speak against the Emperor's 

* Part of the method of voice training then practiced. 


After his victory in the civil war he became even more 
cruel, and to discover any conspirators who were in hiding, 
tortured many of the opposite party by a new form of in- 
quisition, inserting fire in their privates; and he cut off the 
hands of some of them. It is certain that of the more con- 
spicuous only two were pardoned, a Tribune of senatorial 
rank and a Centurion, who the more clearly to prove their 
freedom from guilt, showed that they were of shameless un- 
chastity and could therefore have had no influence with the 
general or with the soldiers. 

His savage cruelty was not only excessive, but also cun- 
ning and sudden. He invited one of his stewards to his bed- 
chamber the day before crucifying him, made him sit beside 
him on his couch, and dismissed him in a secure and gay 
frame of mind, even deigning to send him a share of his din- 
ner. When he was on the point of condemning the ex-consul 
Arrecinius Clemens, one of his intimates and tools, he treated 
him with as great favor as before, if not greater, and finally, 
as he was taking a drive with him, catching sight of his ac- 
cuser he said: "Pray, shall we hear this base slave to 

To abuse men's patience the more insolently, he never pro- 
nounced an unusually dreadful sentence without a prelimi- 
nary declaration of clemency, so that there came to be no 
more certain indication of a cruel death than the leniency of 
his preamble. He had brought some men charged with treason 
into the Senate, and when he had introduced the matter by 
saying that he would find out that day how dear he was to 
the members, he had no difficulty in causing them to be con- 
demned to suffer the ancient method of punishment. 1 Then 
appalled at the cruelty of the penalty, he interposed a veto, 
to lessen the odium, in these words (for it will be of interest 
to know his exact language) : "Allow me, 
ate, to prevail on you by your love 
which I know I shall obtain with dif 
allow the condemned free choice 
death; for thus you will spare you 
will know that I was present at the ]' 

1 Necks locked in a pillory, then bea 


Reduced to financial straits by the cost of his buildings 
and shows, as well as by the additions which he had made to 
the pay of the soldiers, he tried to lighten the military ex- 
penses by diminishing the number of his troops. But perceiv- 
ing that in this way he exposed himself to the attacks of the 
barbarians, and nevertheless had difficulty in easing his bur- 
dens, he had no hesitation in resorting to every sort of rob- 
bery. The property of the living and the dead was seized 
everywhere on any charge brought by any accuser. It was 
enough to allege any action or word derogatory to the majesty 
of the prince. Estates of those in no way connected with him 
were confiscated, if but one man came forward to declare 
that he had heard from the deceased during his lifetime that 
Caesar was his heir. Besides other taxes, that on the Jews 1 
was levied with the utmost rigor, and those were prosecuted 
who without publicly acknowledging that faith yet lived as 
Jews, as well as those who concealed their nationality and 
did not pay the tribute levied upon their people. 2 1 recall be- 
ing present in my youth when the person of a man ninety 
years old was examined before the Procurator and a very 
crowded court, to see whether he was circumcised. 

From his youth he was far from being of an affable disposi- 
tion, but was on the contrary presumptuous and unbridled 
both in act and in word. When his father's concubine Caenis 
returned from Histria and offered to kiss him as usual, he held 
out his hand to her. He was vexed that his brother's son-in- 
law had attendants clad in white, as well as he, and uttered 
the words 

"Not good is a number of rulers." 8 

When he became Emperor, he did not hesitate to boast in 
the Senate that he had conferred their power on both his 
father and his brother, and that they had but returned him 
bis own ; nor on taking back his wife after their divorce, that 

1 A tax of $0.38 per head, imposed by Titus, in return for permission 
to practice their religion. 

2 Christians doubtless, whom the Romans commonly confounded 
with the Jews. 

8 Iliad, II, 204. 


he had "recalled her to his divine couch," * He delighted to 
hear the people in the amphitheater shout on his feast day: 
"Good Fortune attend our Lord 2 and Mistress." Even more, 
in the Capitoline competition when Palfurius Sura received 
the prize for oratory and all the people begged with concerted 
unanimity that he be restored to his place in the Senate from 
which he had been banished some time before, Domitian 
deigned no reply, but merely had a crier bid them be silent. 
With no less arrogance he began as follows in issuing a cir- 
cular letter in the name of his procurators, "Our Master and 
our God bids that this be done." And so the custom arose of 
henceforth addressing him in no other way even in writing or 
in conversation. He suffered no statues to be set up in his 
honor in the Capitol, except of gold and silver and of a fixed 
weight. He erected so many and such huge vaulted passage- 
ways and arches in the various regions of the city, adorned 
frith chariots and triumphal emblems, that on one of them 
>ome one wrote in Greek: "It is enough." 3 

He held the consulship seventeen times, more often than 
any of his predecessors. Of these the seven middle ones were 
in successive years, but all of them he filled in name only, 
continuing none beyond the first -of May and few after the 
Ides of January. Having assumed the surname Germanicus 
after his two triumphs, he renamed the months of September 
and October from his own names, calling them "Germanicus" 
and "Domitianus," because in the former he had come to the 
throne and was born in the latter. 

In this way he became an object of terror and hatred to 
all, but he was overthrown at last by a conspiracy of his 
friends and favorite freedmen, to which his wife was also 
privy. He had long since had a premonition of the last year 
and day of his life, and even of the very hour and manner of 
his death. In his youth astrologers had predicted all this to 
him, and his father once even openly ridiculed him at dinnei 

* As if he were God, for the word here translated as couch mean* 
specifically the dais on which the images of the gods rested. 

2 Augustus shrank from the salutation of do minus, lord, as implying 
a slave master. 

8 The pun turns on the similar sound of the Greek word for "enongh" 
and the Latin for "arch." 


for refusing mushrooms, saying that he showed himself un- 
Eware of his destiny in not rather fearing the sword. There- 
fore he was at all times timorous and worried, and was 
disquieted beyond measure by even the slightest suspicions. 
It is thought that nothing had more effect in inducing him to 
ignore his proclamation about cutting down the vineyards 
than the circulation of notes containing the following lines: 

"Gnaw me to my root, O goat, yet shall my juice suffice 
To wet your head when you are led to sacrifice." l 

It was because of this same timorousness that although 
he was most eager for all such honors, he refused a new 
one which the Senate had devised and offered to him, a de- 
cree, namely, that whenever he held the consulship Roman 
Knights selected by lot should precede him among his Lictors 
and attendants, clad in the trabea 2 and bearing lances. 

As the time when he anticipated danger drew near, be- 
coming still more anxious every day, he lined the walls of 
the colonnades in which he used to walk with phengite stone, 
to be able to see in its brilliant surface the reflection of all 
that went on behind his back. And he did not give a hearing 
to any prisoners except in private and alone, even holding 
their chains in his hands. Further, to convince his household 
that one must not venture to kill a patron even on good 
grounds, he condemned Epaphroditus, his confidential secre- 
tary, to death, because it was believed that after Nero was 
abandoned the freedman's hand had aided him in taking his 

Finally he put to death his own cousin Flavius Clemens, 
suddenly and on a very slight suspicion, almost before the 
end of his consulship. And yet Flavius was a man of most 
contemptible laziness and Domitian had besides openly 
named his sons, who were then very young, as his successors, 
changing their former names and calling the one Vespasian 
and the other Domitian. And it was by this deed in particu- 
lar that he hastened his own destruction. 

1 From the Greek poet Evenus. Some of the Suetonius texts read 
"Caesar" instead of "goat." 

2 A toga ornamented with horizontal purple stripes worn by the 
Knights on public occasions, as well as by the early Kings and Consuls. 


For eight successive months so many strokes of lightning 
occurred and were reported, that at last he cried: "Well, let 
him now strike whom he will." The temple of Jupiter of the 
Capitol was struck and that of the Flavian family, as well as 
the palace and the Emperor's own bedroom. The inscription 
too on the base of a triumphal statue of his was torn of! in a 
violent tempest and fell upon a neighboring tomb. The tree 
which had been overthrown when Vespasian was still a pri- 
vate citizen but had sprung up anew, then on a sudden fell 
down again. Fortune of Praeneste had throughout his whole 
reign, when he commended the new year to her protection, 
given him a favorable omen and always in the same words. 
Now at last she returned a most direful one, not without the 
mention of bloodshed. 

He dreamed that Minerva, whom he worshiped with super- 
stitious veneration, came forth from her shrine and declared 
that she could no longer protect him, since she had been dis- 
armed by Jupiter. Yet there was nothing by which he was so 
much disturbed as a prediction of the astrologer Ascletarion 
and what befell him. When this man was accused before the 
Emperor and did not deny that he had spoken of certain 
things which he had foreseen through his art, he was asked 
what his own end would be. When he replied that he would 
shortly be rent by dogs, Domitian ordered him killed at once, 
but to prove the fallibility of his art, he ordered besides that 
his funeral be attended to with the greatest care. While this 
was being done, it chanced that the pyre was overset by a 
sudden storm and dogs mangled the corpse, which was only 
partly consumed, and that an actor of farces called Latinus, 
who happened to pass by and see the incident, told it to 
Domitian at the dinner table, with the rest of the day's gossip. 

The day before he was killed he gave orders to have some 
apples which were offered him kept until the following day, 
and added: "If only I am spared to eat them." Then turning 
to his companions, he declared that on the following day the 
moon would be stained with blood in Aquarius, and that a 
deed would be done of which men would talk all over the 
world. At about midnight he was so terrified that he leaped 
from his bed. The next morning he conducted the trial of a 
soothsayer sent from Germany, who when consulted about 


the lightning strokes had foretold a change of rulers, and 
condemned him to death. .While he was vigorously scratch- 
ing a festered wart on his forehead, and had drawn blood, be 
said: "May this be all." Then he asked the time, and by pre- 
arr^ngement the sixth hour was announced to him, instead 
of the fifth, which he feared. Filled with joy at this, and be- 
lieving all danger now past, he was hastening to the bath, 
when his head chamberlain Parthenius changed his purpose 
by announcing that some one had called about a matter of 
great moment and would not be put off. Then he dismissed 
all his attendants and went to his bedroom, where he was 

Concerning the nature of the plot and the manner of his 
death, this is about all that became known. As the conspira- 
tors were deliberating when and how to attack him, whether 
at the bath or at dinner, Stephanus, Domitilla's * steward, 
at the time under accusation for embezzlement, offered his 
aid and counsel. To avoid suspicion, he wrapped up his left 
arm in woollen bandages for some days, pretending that he 
had injured it, and concealed in them a dagger. Then pre- 
tending to betray a conspiracy and for that reason being 
given an audience, he stabbed the Emperor in the groin as 
he was reading a paper which the assassin handed him, 
and stood in a state of amazement. As the wounded prince 
attempted to resist, he was slain with seven wounds by 
Clodianus, a subaltern, Maximus, a freedman of Parthenius, 
Satur, head chamberlain, and a gladiator from the imperial 
school. A boy who was engaged in his usual duty of attend- 
ing to the images of the household Gods in the bedroom, and 
so was a witness of the murder, gave this additional informa- 
tion. He was bidden by Domitian, immediately after he was 
dealt the first blow, to hand him the dagger hidden under his 
pillow and to call the servants. But he found nothing at the 
head of the bed save the hilt, and besides all the doors were 
closed. Meanwhile the Emperor grappled with Stephanus and 
bore him to the ground, where they struggled for a longtime, 
Domitian trying now to wrest the dagger from 

yDoxiiiti&n!& niece * 


hands and now to gouge out his eyes with his lacerated 

He was slain on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of 
October in the forty-fifth year of his age and the fifteenth of 
his reign. His corpse was carried out on a common bier by 
those who bury the poor, and his nurse Phyllis cremated it at 
her suburban estate on the Via Latina. But his ashes she 
secretly carried to the temple of the Flavian family and 
mingled them with those of Julia, daughter of Titus, whom 
she had also reared. 

He was tall of stature, with a modest expression and a 
high color. His eyes were large, but his sight was somewhat 
weak. He was handsome and graceful too, especially when a 
young man, and indeed in his whole body with the exception 
of his feet, the toes of which were somewhat cramped. In 
later life he had the further disfigurement of baldness, a pro- 
truding belly, and spindle legs, though the latter had become 
thin from a long illness. He was so conscious that the modesty 
of his expression was in his favor, that he once made this 
boast in the Senate: "So far, at any rate, you have approved 
my heart and my countenance." He was so sensitive about 
his baldness, that he regarded it as a personal insult if any 
one else was twitted with that defect in jest or in earnest, 
though in a book "On the Care of the Hair," which he pub- 
lished and dedicated to a friend, he wrote the following by 
way of consolation to the man and himself: 

" 'Do you not see that I am comely, too, and tall?' * 

And yet the same fate awaits my hair, and I bear with resig- 
nation the aging of my locks in youth. Be assured that noth- 
ing is more pleasing than beauty, but nothing shorter-lived," 
He was incapable of exertion and seldom went about the 
city on foot, while on his campaigns and journeys he rarely 
rode on horseback, but was regularly carried in a litter. He 
took no interest in arms, but was particularly devoted to 
archery. There are many who have more than once seen him 
day a hundred wild beasts of different kinds on his Alban 
estate, and purposely kill some of them with two successive 

* Iliad, XXI, 108. 


shots in such a way that the arrows gave the effect of horns. 
Sometimes he would have a slave stand at a distance and 
hold out the palm of his right hand for a mark, with the fin- 
gers spread. Then he directed his arrows with such accuracy 
that they passed harmlessly between the fingers. 

At the beginning of his rule he neglected liberal studies, 
although he provided for having the libraries, which were 
destroyed by fire, renewed at very great expense, seeking 
everywhere for copies of the lost works, and sending scribes 
to Alexandria to transcribe and correct them. Yet he never 
took any pains to become acquainted with history or poetry, 
or even to acquiring an ordinarily good style. He read nothing 
except the memoirs and transactions of Tiberius Caesar. For 
his letters, speeches and proclamations he relied on others' 
talents. Yet his conversation was not inelegant, and some of 
his sayings were even noteworthy. "How I wish," said he, "that 
I were as fine looking as Maecius thinks he is." He declared 
too that the head of a certain man, whose hair had changed 
color in such a way that it was partly reddish and partly 
gray, was like "snow on which mead had been poured." 

He used to say that the lot of princes was most unhappy, 
since when they discovered a conspiracy, no one believed 
them unless they had been killed. 

Whenever he had leisure he amused himself with playing 
at dice, even on working days and in the morning hours. He 
went to the bath before the end of the forenoon and lunched 
to the point of satiety, so that at dinner he rarely took any- 
thing except a Matian apple 1 and a moderate amount of 
wine from a jug. He gave numerous and generous banquets, 
but usually ended them early. In no case did he protract 
them beyond sunset, or follow them by a drinking bout. In 
fact, he did nothing until the hour for retiring except walk 
alone in a retired place. 

He was excessively lustful. His constant sexual intercourse 
'he called bed-wrestling, as if it were a kind of exercise. It 
was reported that he depilated his concubines with his own 
hand and swam with common prostitutes. After persistently 

1 A famous variety named after C. Matius, friend of Augustus and 
writer on cookery and gardening. 


refusing his niece, 1 who was offered him in marriage when 
she was still a maid, because he was entangled in an intrigue 
with Domitia, he seduced her shortly afterwards when she 
became the wife of another, and that too during the lifetime 
of Titus. Later, when she was bereft of father and husband, 
he loved her ardently and without disguise, and even became 
the cause of her death by compelling her to get rid of a child 
of his by abortion. 

The people received the news of his death with indifference, 
but the soldiers were greatly grieved and at once attempted 
to call him the Deified Domitian, while they were prepared 
also to avenge him, had they not lacked leaders. This, how- 
ever, they did accomplish a little later by most insistently 
demanding the execution of his murderers. The Senators on 
the contrary were so overjoyed, that they raced to fill the 
House, where they did not refrain from assailing the dead 
Emperor with the most insulting and stinging kind of out- 
cries. They even had ladders brought and his shields and 
images torn down before their eyes and dashed upon the 
ground. Finally they passed a decree that his inscriptions 
should everywhere be erased, and all record of him ob- 

A few months before he was killed, a raven perched on the 
Capitolium 2 and cried "All will be well," an omen which 
some interpreted as follows: 

"Late croaked a raven from Tarpeia's height, 
'All is not yet, but shortly will be, right.' " 

Domitian himself, it is said, dreamed that a golden hump 
grew out on his back, and he regarded this as an infallible 
sign that the condition of the empire would be happier and 
more prosperous after his time. And this was shortly shown 
to be true through the uprightness and moderate rule of the 
succeeding Emperors. 

1 Julia, daughter of Titus. 

2 Sometimes called the Tarpeian Hill from the Tarpeian Rock at 
its southwest corner.